Most of us have had a childhood where our parents forced us to drink at least one glass of milk every day because it is good for our bones and teeth. Some are now parents and have children of their own and are probably repeating the same thing even today.
When we talk about “milk” what usually comes to mind is cow’s milk. However, there are other animals that provide milk like goats and buffaloes. Milk from these animals are used rarely and most of us are not aware of their nutritional benefits.
Here are some of the health benefits of cow milk, goat milk, and buffalo milk that will help you decide what’s best for your child.
Health Benefits Of Cow Milk
Cow milk is the most widely used milk and is also available in the form of milk powder.
1. Maintains Bone Health
The most well-known benefit of drinking milk is its ability to maintain strong bones and teeth. Calcium is the most important mineral required by the body for building bones. 100 grams of cow milk contains 113 grams of calcium.
2. Improves Heart Health
Cow milk is a good source of potassium – a mineral that is required to maintain the electrical balance of the heart.1 However, it should be taken only in moderation because dramatic increase in potassium can also cause other health risks.
3. Protects Against Cancer
Most often, cow milk is fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D may help in cell growth and also protect the body from certain types of cancer. Studies show that a combined consumption of dietary vitamin D and calcium may help with colon cancer in men.2
4. Helps Build Muscles
Cow milk is a good source of high-quality protein. Proteins are the building blocks of muscles and therefore, consuming cow milk can help in building muscle. Proteins also support the growth and repair of muscles. A good muscle mass is required for weight management as well.
5. Reduces Inflammatory Issues
Choline is a compound present in cow milk. The presence of choline makes cow milk ideal for reducing inflammatory issues. Choline is also important for sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory. Studies have shown that choline therapy may help treat immune inflammation in asthma patients.3
Health Benefits Of Buffalo Milk
Buffalo milk is possibly the least common milk you’ve heard of, but it has health benefits like cow milk, probably even more.
1. Aids Growth And Development
Buffalo milk has more protein content than cow milk. Therefore, it may be a better option to help in the growth and development of both children and young adults.
A common benefit of milk, in general, is its effect on bone strength and development. Buffalo milk contains more calcium than cow milk; therefore, it may be a better option for strengthening bones.
2. Boosts The Immune System
Buffalo milk contains significant amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C. Vitamin A is important for cell repair whereas vitamin C acts an antioxidant, protecting the body from diseases.
Therefore, buffalo milk improves the immune system and protects the overall health of the body.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure
Buffalo milk has lower cholesterol levels than cow milk. Therefore, it may be a better choice for improving cardiovascular health. In addition, buffalo milk contains more potassium than cow milk, which can help lower blood pressure.
4. May Treat Iron Deficiency
Buffalo milk is a good source of the mineral iron. Iron deficiency can lead to serious health conditions like anemia. Therefore, buffalo milk may be a better choice for those suffering from iron deficiency.
Health Benefits Of Goat Milk
Goat milk may not be easily available but is very beneficial to the body.
1. Can Be Digested Easily
Goat milk is known to be easily digestible than cow milk. It also contains lower milk sugars called lactose. Therefore, goat milk is a better option for those who are lactose intolerant. Goat milk also contains fewer allergy causing proteins like casein. Therefore, those who are allergic to cow milk can try goat milk for better health.
2. Helps In Growth And Development
Similar to both cow and buffalo milk, goat milk also helps with the growth and development of children and young adults because of its protein content.
As with most milk, goat milk also helps in maintaining strong bones and teeth. Though lower than buffalo milk, goat milk has a higher content of calcium than cow milk.
3. Reduces Inflammation
Animal studies have shown that goat milk reduces inflammation.4 As mentioned earlier, goat milk is easily digested by the body and therefore, it is better for the gut. However, the effectiveness of goat milk for reducing inflammation in humans should be researched further.
4. Balances Cholesterol Levels
Goat milk may be high in fatty acids but it is low in cholesterol. In fact, goat milk can help balance the cholesterol levels in the body – increasing the good cholesterols and reducing the bad ones. Animal studies show that goat milk is a better milk than cow milk to regulate cholesterol levels.5 This may also benefit humans; however, more research is required to substantiate the statement.
Nutritional Information About Cow Milk, Buffalo Milk, And Goat Milk
The following nutritional information is for 1 cup of milk (244 grams).
|Nutrients||Cow Milk||Buffalo Milk||Goat Milk|
|Protein||7.69 g||9.1 g||8.69 g|
|Fat||7.93 g||16.8 g||10.10 g|
|Calcium||276 mg||412 mg||327 mg|
|Iron||0.07 mg||0.03 mg||0.12 mg|
|Magnesium||24 mg||75.6 mg||34 mg|
|Potassium||322 mg||434 mg||498 mg|
|Phosphorous||205 mg||286 mg||271 mg|
The Best Choice Of Milk For Your Health
If you’re thinking which milk is best for your health, then you should know that all three kinds of milk have their own unique health benefits.
For instance, cow milk is generally good for growth and development, however, because of the high protein content in buffalo milk, it may aid better in the growth of children. However, it may not be the best option for obese children and adults because of its fat content.
Similarly, goat milk is easily digestible and contains fewer allergens and milk sugars. Therefore, goat milk may be ideal for those with food allergies and those who are lactose intolerant. The drawback of goat milk is that it is not easily available and may be more expensive than the other products.
What’s best for you depends on your needs and health conditions. So, make sure to provide a glass of milk to children every day for their growth and development. For young and older adults, consult a doctor to know the recommended intake depending on the health conditions.
|↑1||Heart failure and potassium. Harvard Medical School.|
|↑2||Garland, Cedric, Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, ArthurH Rossof, RichardB Shekelle, MichaelH Criqui, and Oglesby Paul. “Dietary vitamin D and calcium and risk of colorectal cancer: a 19-year prospective study in men.” The Lancet 325, no. 8424 (1985): 307-309.|
|↑3||Mehta, Amit K., Bhanu P. Singh, Naveen Arora, and Shailendra N. Gaur. “Choline attenuates immune inflammation and suppresses oxidative stress in patients with asthma.” Immunobiology 215, no. 7 (2010): 527-534.|
|↑4||Lara-Villoslada, Federico, Elisabeth Debras, Ana Nieto, Angel Concha, Julio Gálvez, Eduardo López-Huertas, Julio Boza, Christiane Obled, and Jordi Xaus. “Oligosaccharides isolated from goat milk reduce intestinal inflammation in a rat model of dextran sodium sulfate-induced colitis.” Clinical Nutrition 25, no. 3 (2006): 477-488.|
|↑5||López-Aliaga, I., M. J. M. Alférez, M. T. Nestares, P. B. Ros, M. Barrionuevo, and M. S. Campos. “Goat milk feeding causes an increase in biliary secretion of cholesterol and a decrease in plasma cholesterol levels in rats.” Journal of dairy science 88, no. 3 (2005): 1024-1030.|