Though goats and their milk have been present in North America since at least the 16th century, it is only recently that Americans have fully jumped on board with the dairy alternative. For the last four decades, the growth of the goat milk industry has been steady and consistent, and we completely understand why! Even before buying our first dairy goats in 2007 and launching Bend Soap Company, we were avid goat milk consumers, and we were happily reaping the health and skin benefits.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the top reasons why goat milk is one of the fastest-growing sectors of U.S. agriculture — and why you should incorporate more goat milk into your life.
Health Benefits of Goat Milk
Goat Milk is Easier to Digest
For the estimated 65% of the human population that has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy, goat milk is a perfect, easily digestible, alternative to cow milk. In fact, research has shown that the way babies digest goat milk formula is more similar to their digestion of human breast milk than that of cow milk formula.
While goat milk does contain lactose, its easy digestibility can be attributed to the higher(?) amount of the protein casein, as well as the type of fat, found in both goat and cow milk. Not only are the casein curds in goat milk softer than those in cow milk, but goat milk also has smaller fat globules that better stimulate the natural activity of digestive enzymes. These enzymes then break down the casein and lactose (a type of sugar) that typically make for difficult digestion.
Goat Milk Enhances Nutrient Absorption
Better digestion promotes better absorption, and according to a 2002 study, a diet based on goat milk (as opposed to cow milk) can aid the metabolism of iron and copper in the body. Goat milk is also more effective than cow milk in helping those with iron-deficiency anemia rebuild their iron stores. Calcium — found in both goat and cow milk — has been known to inhibit iron absorption, but a goat milk diet reduces this interaction. Conversely, Healthline notes that “cow’s milk is known to interfere with the absorption of key minerals like iron and copper when consumed in the same meal.”
Goat Milk is Less Allergic Than Cow Milk
In addition to the millions of people who suffer from lactose intolerance, there are millions of others — especially children — who are allergic to cow milk. Up to 2.5% of children under the age of three are allergic to cow milk, which presents a major concern for breastfed babies who are beginning to wean. Doctors often recommend that babies drink whole cow milk after weaning, but goat milk is a highly nutritious, hypoallergenic substitute for those who are allergic.
While experts don’t believe that goat milk is a suitable alternative to human breast milk, it is a good protein source after weaning. Of course, we are huge goat milk fans, and we gave it to each of our children after they were weaned. It’s because of our love of goat milk that we bought our first dairy goats in 2007 and ultimately launched Bend Soap Company!
Goat Milk is More Nutritious than Cow and Plant-Based Milk
Not only is goat milk less allergenic than cow milk, but it’s also higher in key minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. What’s more, for those who can’t tolerate cow milk but opt for plant-based milk varieties, goat milk is far more nutritious.
When compared to soy, coconut, hemp, and almond milk, goat milk contains more calcium, as well as protein and healthy fat.
Skin Benefits of Goat Milk
Here are just a few of the benefits that goat milk can have on your skin.
Goat Milk Promotes Anti-Aging
Goat milk contains two key nutrients — lactic acid and Vitamin A — that make it an effective fighter against fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.
In one study, participants who applied a 12% lactic acid solution twice per day had firmer, thicker skin, as well as a “clinical improvement in skin smoothness and in the appearance of lines and wrinkles.” What’s more, research has shown that topically applied Vitamin A, also known as retinol, can increase water retention of the skin while also stimulating collagen production. Ultimately, both of these functions also contribute to an improved skin appearance.
Goat Milk Increases Moisture
Americans spend millions of dollars on lotions, creams, and moisturizers each year to combat dry skin, and as the temperatures dip and winter approaches, our skin becomes especially parched. The good news is that lactic, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) found in goat milk, has been shown to increase the moisture levels in the skin.
Like other AHAs, lactic acid is a known humectant. “You can think of humectants as magnets that attract water,” reads a Healthline article on the subject. “They pull moisture from the air into the upper layer of your skin.”
The end result: The lactic acid in goat milk won’t just provide temporary relief for your dry skin; it’ll also decrease your dependence on lotions and creams going forward.
Goat Milk Exfoliates Deeply But Gently
In addition to moisturizing and plumping the skin, AHAs are known as powerful exfoliants that can deeply penetrate the skin, improving the appearance of acne, age spots, and scars, But while some AHAs, like the ones found in chemical peels, can leave the skin red and irritated, lactic acid is as gentle as it is effective.
Lactic acid dissolves the connections between skin cells to make it easier to wash them away. It also promotes cell renewal, ensuring that any dead or damaged cells are replaced with new, healthy ones. And the best part? Lactic acid is super gentle on the skin and has been found to be less irritating and cause fewer complaints than other AHAs—or even some over-the-counter exfoliating washes that can do more harm than good.
Back to You
As people build healthier diets by eliminating processed foods and swapping out those they are allergic or sensitive to, goat milk has become a popular alternative that is rich in protein, healthy fats, and several key vitamins and minerals. What’s more, goat milk is just as beneficial for the skin as it is the body. By using our goat milk soap, milk bath, and goat milk lotion, you can also experience healthy, youthful-looking skin.
What’s your favorite reason for including goat milk in your skincare routine? Share your thoughts and inspire others in the comments.
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