The Milk Battle, Part 2

   Health Benefits of Raw Organic Sheep's Milk

Although in the United States, sheep milk is not as popular as cow milk, sheep milk and its products are widely consumed in other parts of the world, especially in the Mediterranean. In fact, Greek feta cheese and Italian ricotta cheese are made from sheep milk. Sheep milk is rich in many nutrients; however, it is not recommended that you drink it raw. The Food and Drug Administration states that drinking raw milk is a health risk because it can contain bacteria such as E. coli. The FDA also assures that pasteurization does not degrade the milk's nutritional quality in any way.

   Protein and Carbohydrate

Sheep milk is richer in protein than either cow or goat milk -- it contains about two percent more. Protein from mammalian milk is of high quality because it contains all essential amino acids. Getting enough protein is important because your body needs it to grow and repair itself. Sheep milk is also higher in lactose than cow and goat milk and is therefore not recommended for lactose-intolerant individuals.

   Energy and Fat Content

Sheep milk contains roughly double the amount of fat than cow and goat milk. It also contains considerably more calories, and therefore might not be the best choice for persons trying to lose weight. However, sheep milk also contains higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid than either cow or goat milk, reports the 2007 issue of "Small Ruminant Research." Research indicates that conjugated linoleic acid can promote fat loss, as documented in the January 2010 issue of "Nutrition and Metabolism." This issue also reported that conjugated linoleic acid can improve blood lipid levels and may help prevent diabetes.

   Vitamin and Mineral Content

Sheep milk is higher in vitamins and minerals than either cow or goat milk. For example, it contains considerably more vitamin C, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Vitamin C is essential for proper immune function and for collagen synthesis; riboflavin is needed for good vision; vitamin B-6 participates in the metabolism of amino acids; vitamin A is needed for healthy vision and healthy body linings; and vitamin D is essential for bone health. In addition, sheep milk has almost double the calcium content of either cow or goat milk. Calcium is the main mineral in bone and teeth.

   Organic Advantage

Whenever possible, choose organic products. These products are produced in a more environmentally friendly way and the welfare of the animals is better. Organic sheep milk is also nutritionally superior to non organic. A study reported in the August 2010 of the "Journal of Dairy Research" found that milk from organic sheep had higher levels of monounsaturated fat, conjugated linoleic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids. All these nutrients exert health-promoting benefits including protection from heart disease.

   Rice milk

Rice milk is a kind of grain milk processed from rice. It is mostly made from brown rice and commonly unsweetened. The sweetness in most rice milk varieties is generated by a natural enzymatic process, cleaving the carbohydrates into sugars, especially glucose, similar to the Japanese Amazake. Some rice milk kinds may nevertheless be sweetened with sugarcane syrup or other sugars.

   Comparison to dairy milk

Compared to cow's milk, rice milk contains more carbohydrates, but does not contain significant amounts of calcium or protein, and no cholesterol or lactose. Commercial brands of rice milk, however, are often fortified with vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin B3, and iron.

Rice milk is often consumed by people who are lactose intolerant, allergic to soy or have PKU.  It is also used as a dairy substitute by vegans.

   Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a crucial part of a plant-based diet because it is a vegan replacement for milk that doesn’t require much compromise — it boasts a creamy consistency and a delicious taste. Coconut milk is extraordinarily versatile and serves a variety of purposes in the kitchen. From breakfast to dinner and savory to sweet, coconut milk has a place in your diet. It is packed with vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5, and B6 as well as iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. And its benefits don’t end in the gut. Coconut milk makes for an effective beauty product as well. The following 15 uses for coconut milk are sure to convince you to make it a daily fixture in your life.

Coconut milk contains 89 milligrams of magnesium per cup, which makes it a rich source of a mineral that helps to calm the nerves and maintain normal blood pressure. Magnesium blocks nerve cells from becoming overactive by virtue of becoming stimulated by calcium. Calm nerve cells reduce contraction of muscles and make you feel more relaxed.

Coconut milk is not a good source of calcium. It contains just over 38 milligrams of calcium per cup compared to regular milk’s 300 milligrams in the same serving size. But while it may not be able to give dairy a run for its money in terms of calcium, it is a rich source of phosphorus. With 240 milligrams of phosphorus per cup, coconut milk contributes to strong bones.

Coconut milk contains a fatty acid called lauric acid, which is quite valuable to the human body. When it enters the body, lauric acid is converted to monolaurin, which is a compound that has antiviral and antibacterial properties. For this reason, coconut milk consumption could fight infections and viruses.

Despite its saturated fat content, coconut milk can actually help to reduce cholesterol levels if you are used to cooking with butter and dairy-based creams. The truth is, not all saturated fats are created equal. Coconut milk raises cholesterol levels,  but its lauric acid boosts HDL (good) cholesterol, which improves the HDL-LDL (bad) cholesterol ratio. So while the better option may be to reach for an unsaturated fat, if choosing among saturated fats, coconut milk is the best of the bunch. The fats in coconut milk are also easier for the body to break down and metabolize and contain healthy fats including omega 6 essential fatty acids.

Coconut milk contains selenium, which is an antioxidant that relieves arthritis symptoms. Selenium controls free radicals and  decreases the risk of joint inflammation.

Benefit from the nutrients and fats in coconut milk with a hair treatment. Massage coconut milk into your scalp and use your fingers to brush the milk through hair strands. Once covering your hair and scalp, wrap your hair in a towel and let the coconut milk sit for an hour or two. The longer it sits, the more deeply the moisturizing and strengthening effects of coconut milk will penetrate. You could also warm the milk up prior to application to jump start the assimilation of nutrients.


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The Milk Battle

   Goat Milk vs. Cow Milk

Dairy farmers had quite a marketing plan back in the 1980’s that made them more than 13 billion dollars in recent years. With commercials touting milk mustaches and encouraging little kids to drink their milk (even if it’s chocolate, and full of refined sugar), should we question if cow’s milk is really that ‘good’ for the body? Many people don’t believe in drinking milk at all, but much of the world drinks more goat’s milk than cow’s milk, so what’s up with the American addiction to the cow? In this match of goat milk vs. cow milk, which will come out on top?

We begin life relying on our mother’s milk, and breast feeding research makes it clear  that feeding babies with breast milk far exceeds anything made by Similac, so perhaps our obsession with cow’s milk comes from this strange correlation. Maybe not. The bottom line, though, is that the rest of the world drinks goat’s milk because it is simply better for the human body. Here’s why:

You don’t have to homogenize  goat’s milk; it is naturally homogenized. Homogenization is a process done to cow’s milk to equally distribute the fat molecules so that when you purchase a jug from your grocery store it doesn’t have milk curd (milk cream) floating on the top of your milk.

            Goat's milk contains less calories than the cow variety

If you put two glasses of fresh goat’s and cow’s milk in the refrigerator overnight, the cow’s milk separates, and the goat’s milk does not. Homogenization of milk also causes fat cells to break, releasing a free radical called Xanthine Oxidase. As we know,  free radicals aren’t good for you; they cause DNA mutations, among other things.

Cow’s milk sold in stores and not purchased fresh from a dairy farm is also pasteurized in order to kill any pathogenic bacteria, but this also kills all the good bacteria that contribute to healthy gut flora and proper digestion – of everything you eat, but also the cow’s milk you drink. Enzymes and vitamins A, D, and C are also eradicated in the process of pasteurization, and this is why Vitamin D is often added back into cow’s milk. Pasteurization kills the life out of the food, so it basically becomes nutritionless.

Goat’s milk is about 85% less allergenic  than Cow’s milk, so people suffer intolerance less often. In children under three in the United States, milk is one of the most allergic foods!

Goat’s milk is a lot easier to digest than cow’s milk and most closely matches the human body. The simplicity of digesting goat’s milk has to do with how fat is digested in the body. Basically, the fat molecules in goat’s milk are smaller, and therefore easier to stomach. Goat’s milk also contains less lactose, so there is less likelihood of developing an intolerance.

Goat’s milk is just better for you, overall. It has a greater concentration of essential fatty acids such as linoleic and arachidonic acid than cow’s milk along with higher amounts of vitamin B-6, vitamin A, and niacin. The milk also has higher levels of bioavailable iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium which results in the restoration of altered haematological parameters and better levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH).

‘Both cows’ and goats’ milk contain similar levels of calcium and most other vitamins and minerals,’ says Jennifer Lowe of the British Dietetic Association.

But when it comes to vitamin B12 — which is important for the formation of healthy red blood cells — cows’ milk wins hands down.

Half a tumbler of cows’ milk contains nearly two thirds of the recommended daily intake — you’d have to drink nine times that amount of goats’ milk to get the same levels,’ says Lowe.

Some children given goats’ milk have been found to have B12 deficiency (symptoms include fatigue and weakness).

However, goats’ milk may boost iron absorption more effectively than cows’, according to a study last year from the University of Granada in Spain.

The study also found goats’ milk contained higher levels of zinc and selenium, which help the immune system.

Furthermore, many fans of the milk claim that those with an allergy to cows’ milk can happily pour goats’ milk on their cereal.

But this may not be the case.

If you have an allergy to cows’ milk — around five per cent of the UK population is thought to be affected — you’re likely to have a similar response to goats’ milk, and sheep’s milk, too.

‘The protein that causes an allergy is very similar in all these types of milk,’ says Lowe.

People who claim to be intolerant to lactose, the natural carbohydrate in milk, often swap cows’ for goats’ milk.

But Lowe points out that, ‘the two actually contain similar levels of lactose — 4.1 per cent in goats’ compared with 4.7 per cent in cows’ — so switching to goats’ milk won’t make any difference to your symptoms.’

Instead those people with a lactose intolerance should opt for a dairy-free alternative such as soya milk. But could goats’ milk help you shed the pounds?

When it comes to calories and saturated fat, there’s little difference between cows’ and goats’ milk.

A 100ml serving (about half a tumbler) of whole fat cows’ milk provides 67 calories and 3.9 grams of fat, while goats’ contains 60 calories and 3.5 grams of fat.

The semi-skimmed versions of both contain around 45 calories and 1.7 grams fat.

However, although it may not be a great help to slimmers, some claim that goats’ milk helps to minimise abdominal bloating.

Goat's milk contains less calories than the cow variety

It’s true that its fat globules are generally smaller than those in cows’ milk so the body’s digestive enzymes can break it down more rapidly — however, there’s no confirmed link with reduced abdominal bloating.

Other more tried and tested methods of reducing bloating include avoiding foods such as onions and cauliflower, which are known to be a cause of the problem.

Experts also recommend trying to avoid ‘gulping’ too much air when drinking and eating.

They advise chewing with your mouth closed, not talking and eating at the same time, and sitting down when you eat.

Drinking lots of fluids is also important, and some experts believe that consuming foods and drinks with probiotic ‘friendly’ bacteria may also help.

And last year’s study at the University of Granada found goats’ milk contained a significant amount of oligosaccharides, compounds that reach the large intestine undigested and act like prebiotics, enhancing the growth of healthy ‘probiotic’ gut flora that wards off infections.

There’s been a 40 per cent rise in demand for goats’ milk for children in recent years, the result of an increase in the numbers said to be either allergic to dairy or unable to digest it.

But goats’ milk is not for babies and young infants — the proteins are too concentrated for young children to digest and some sources of it are unpasteurised, raising the risk of bacterial infection, diarrhoea and sickness.

According to the Department of Health: ‘Infant formulas and follow-on formulas based on goats’ milk protein have not been approved for use in Europe’.

So when you’re considering whether to switch to goat, it seems that sticking with old-fashioned cow may be better for your health — as well as your wallet.

Will continue...

Part 2 - link here

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