“Milk is a balanced diet”, read the textbook from school. Surely, we all remember this. Milk, the ideal food, providing all the nutrients needed for a healthy living. Thus, justifying our mother’s indulgence over it. Who could forget the early morning hankering over a glass of milk? After much insistence we indeed gave in, drinking half a glass or quarter a glass and sometimes even less! Yes, that milk! The pain in our ass, during childhood days, is back to haunt us again, though in a different format. We are going to discuss them – cow milk vs buffalo milk vs goat milk.
In our childhood days, milk usually meant cow’s milk which had all the nutrients mentioned in the biology book. Proteins, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins like Vitamin D and essential minerals like Calcium, phosphorus. Apart from cow’s milk, the other mostly used sources of milk are buffalo milk, goat milk, sheep milk, and camel milk. All of these varieties have the same nutrients present in cow milk. They only differ in composition. Based on this difference in composition we draw a comparison. Subsequently, we choose the best option according to the condition of our body.
Cow Milk vs Buffalo Milk vs Goat Milk
We compare each of them with the others. This will clear the air, regarding their rightful place.
Cow Milk vs Buffalo Milk
Cow milk and buffalo milk both are closely related. So their effectiveness is studied first in our comparison study. The essential difference between cow milk and buffalo milk is their nutrient content. While cow milk contains 3.9% of fat, buffalo milk contains 8% fat. So people who are looking for a low-fat milk shouldn’t opt for buffalo milk. Cow milk (42 calories/100gm) has lesser calories than buffalo milk (97 calories/100gm). Due to high-fat content, Buffalo milk is best suitable for the preparation of ghee.
Is Buffalo Milk Good for Bone Health?
Buffalo milk has a high percentage of Vitamins, Calcium and Phosphorus. Hence, it is good for women and old age people. This high percentage of calcium and vitamin D helps in maintaining good bone density and bone health. Thus, diabetic people should opt for buffalo milk over cow milk. People suffering from diabetes are prone to bone fractures.
Health Benefits of Buffalo Milk
Apart from the basic difference in nutrients, buffalo milk also has a certain special characteristic which makes it a better alternative. Compared to cow milk nutrition, buffalo milk nutrition provides low levels of cholesterol and high levels of lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, lysozyme and immunoglobulins.
Immunoglobulins are nothing but antibodies which protect our body from germs (bacteria, virus, protozoa, fungi etc.). Thus imparting a healthy immune system which protects us from diseases. Both cow milk and buffalo milk are sweet in taste and are great aphrodisiacs. Thus, they are good in increasing our sexual drive.
Counting all the facts discussed above, we reach the conclusion that buffalo milk has an edge over cow milk with regard to health benefits in this comparative narration.
Cow Milk or Buffalo Milk – Which is Better for Children?
This comparison between cow milk, buffalo milk and goat milk is incomplete without a section for children.
The American Association of Pediatrics says that most of the children need 2½ cup of milk to fulfil their daily requirements of Vitamin A, Vitamin D and Calcium. Due to the higher content of these in buffalo milk, it might seem suitable for children. But this isn’t the case. Obesity risk children should stay away from it. You should avoid giving buffalo milk to children younger than 1 years of age. At this age, you should only focus on breastfeeding. However, after 2years of age, they can opt for buffalo milk as it would help in their growth.
High levels of Lactoferrin present in the Buffalo milk acts as a natural immune modulator. It modulates and modifies the immune cells of the immune system. Thereby increasing its disease preventing ability.
In addition to this, buffalo milk has higher protein content and are natural sleep inducers. It also enhances our digestion ability and heals the burning sensation in the stomach. However, Buffalo milk is a bit heavier than the cow milk. Hence, care should be taken while advising it for infants and old people. It should be taken in smaller quantity than cow milk.
Thus we see, buffalo milk holds an edge over cow milk in this regard. Hence in this section, we came to the conclusion that buffalo milk is better for growing children but not for infants.
Buffalo Milk vs Goat Milk
Another important section in our discussion is the comparison of buffalo and goat milk. The advantage of goat milk over Buffalo milk is low fat and lactose content. Goat milk is lighter and more digestible than buffalo milk. It too has higher calcium (13%), phosphorus, iron and Vitamin content. Though it is lesser than buffalo milk content but greater than cow milk content. Goat milk contains short and medium chain fatty acids which makes it easy to digest. Hence it is good for children even for those are below 1 year.
The low lactose content makes it a good alternative for lactose-intolerant people. Due to its low fat (3.5%) content, people with obesity risk are advised to opt for it. Goat milk has 60 calories per 100 gm which is more than cow milk but less than buffalo milk.
Thus, from this section, it is pretty much clear that goat milk is beneficial for infants and lactose intolerant people. The major advantage of goat milk is its aesthetic value. It is produced in small farms where the goats aren’t exposed to antibiotics or growth hormones. However, one major drawback of goat milk is its cost and availability. It takes 7-8 goats to produce as much milk as a cow or buffalo can produce in one go.
Despite its cost, this section seals the case of goat milk over buffalo milk.
Goat Milk vs Cow Milk
let’s come to the most influential part of the discussion. Despite the expenditure, there has been a steep rise in goat milk consumption. Gradually more and more people are opting for goat milk. It is well known that Mahatma Gandhi used to incorporate goat milk in his diet. To know the advantages of using goat milk over cow milk we must study their composition first.
Goat milk nutrition contains 3.1% protein, 3.5% fat, 39 unit vitamin A, 68 unit Vitamin B, 0.7 unit vitamin D, 0.19% Calcium, 0.07% iron, 0.27% phosphorus, 10 mg of cholesterol and 4.4% lactose. Whereas cow milk contains 3.2% protein, 3.9% fat, 21 unit Vitamin A, 45 unit vitamin B, 0.7 unit vitamin D, 0.18% Calcium, 0.06% iron, 0.23% phosphorus, 14 mg of cholesterol and 4.8% lactose. Thus it is clear that goat milk is better than cow milk in nutritive value and fat value. We are going to further investigate how this effect our overall health.
Unique Properties of Goat Milk:
As goat milk holds a pivotal place in our discussion, its unique features are highlighted:
1. Goat Milk has Short and Medium Chain Fatty Acids
This makes it easier to be broken down by digestive enzymes. Thus, goat milk is more digestible than buffalo milk or cow milk. Due to its low lactose content, it acts as a viable alternative for lactose intolerant people. Lactose intolerant people can’t tolerate lactose and hence abstain from the consumption of dairy products. For them, consuming goat milk is a good option. They can opt for ice-creams, curds, yoghurts, butter and other dairy products made from goat milk.
2. Goat Milk is a Good Alternative for People Allergic to Milk
People prone to milk allergy can opt for goat milk. Though the protein responsible for allergy S1 casein is still there, it might be broken down by fermentation. Hence, fermented goat milk is good for people suffering from milk allergy. Goat milk contains 89% less alpha S1 casein than cow milk.
3. Essential for Cheese Making
Due to their distinct breeds, milk obtained from goat has much more variety than cow or buffalo. So, it finds importance in cheese making industry. Apart from various types of cheese, the short fat molecules of goat milk are used in making hard cheese. These can be only made from short fat molecules. Hence, the importance of goat milk in cheese making is high.
4. Goat Milk is a Naturally Homogenised Milk
Goat milk is naturally homogenized and doesn’t separate into different layers like cow milk. Thus, the need of artificial homogenization is eliminated. Artificial homogenization, on the other hand, has the potential side effect of free radical release when the milk fat breaks down. Consumption of these free radicals results in DNA mutation, making us prone to cancer. Hence, intake of naturally homogenised goat milk is better than artificially homogenized cow milk.
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5. Goat Milk is Most Suitable for Human Body
Goat milk is more suitable to the metabolic nature of the human body than cow or buffalo milk. Goat milk contains a higher percentage of potassium than cow milk. This is ideal for the pH of our body which is 7.4. Thus goat milk doesn’t react with our body and maintains the exact acid-base balance. Goat milk has a higher amount of linoleic acid, arachidonic acid (unsaturated fatty acids), Vitamin A, Vitamin B6 and niacin. All these makes it a more viable option for humans.
6. Goat Milk Promises Good Health
Fermented products (example kefir) made from goat milk increases the microbial diversity in the gut and also its absorptive ability. This makes a healthy gut which digests well and rightfully absorbs nutrients from the small intestine. It helps in preventing leaky gut and boosts the immune system of our body. Similar to buffalo milk, they too have antibodies which protect us from disease-causing germs.
These unique features of goat milk cement its position as the most important source of milk in the cow milk vs buffalo milk vs goat milk comparison.
How Does Goat Milk Help in Countering the Effect of Obesity?
Scroll back and take a look at the composition of goat milk and cow milk. What did you see? Goat milk is low in fat and cholesterol, and high in Vitamins and minerals (Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron etc.) This low-fat content is due to smaller fat molecules which are easily broken down and digested. Hence, goat milk fat is easily digested and leaves little room for accumulation of fat in the body. Thus, the problem of obesity is solved. So the pertinent question of our cow milk vs buffalo milk vs goat milk discussion is answered.
Obesity is often related to diabetes and high cholesterol levels. The cholesterol content of goat milk is the least amongst all three. Goat milk also helps in cholesterol metabolism, thus preventing the increase of blood cholesterol level. Moreover, the probiotics effect of goat milk product leads to even better digestion and lower risk of diabetes. It also promotes fat loss and reduces the blood pressure.
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So overall, goat milk covers the entire extent of obesity and its associated diseases.
Other Health Benefits of Goat Milk
The above sections highlighted the general benefits of goat milk consumption. However, the scope of goat milk as a healthy alternative is much wider than perceived. Apart from the obvious, goat milk has certain other health benefits.
Goat milk is rich in iron. This high iron content helps prevent Anaemia. In a 2002 mouse model study, it has been revealed that goat milk enhances the absorption of iron in anaemic mice. This ability to increase the absorptive power of organs helps in the treatment of other diseases as well. Diseases like gall bladder stone, cystic fibrosis, childhood epilepsy can be treated by goat milk consumption.
From, all the above sections of our cow milk vs buffalo milk vs goat milk narrative, it is clear all of the three types of milk have their own importance and health benefits, but goat milk is the best pick amongst all three of them. However, there are no strict guidelines about that as all three are equally effective in their own ways. The best way is to choose the one suitable to your condition. So don’t worry and opt for the best alternative. Enjoy the benefits of milk and give your health a strong push.