Categories: Facts Date: Feb 8, 2011 Title: Natural Minerals Nutrition from Goat MilkMinerals are used only in tiny amounts by our bodies, but those small amounts make a BIG difference in maintaining a healthy body. Mineral by mineral, this article explains why you need each, and how goat milk compares to cow's milk as a mineral food source.
Minerals don't receive quite the same attention from the general public as do the other nutrient categories. In fact, many people are not even familiar with the names of the essential minerals in milk, much less their role in human health (with the notable exception of calcium).
So, let's take a quick look at these underrated elements, and see how minerals and health go hand-in-hand. Along the way, we'll also see how goat milk fares as a supplier in the area of mineral nutrition.
However, calcium also has equal, or more significant--though lesser known--roles in other health issues. When it comes to minerals nutrition, calcium is a real powerhouse.
Here is a list of some of the other proven benefits of calcium:
Calcium stored in our bones will be utilized by our bodies if our calcium intake is not enough. This is obviously not desirable, having the effect of weakening the skeletal structure.
Goat milk is a good source of calcium, containing approximately 13% more calcium per serving than cow's milk, and making it one of the predominant natural minerals in milk.
Phosphorus works in conjunction with calcium and vitamin D to help build and maintain strong bones, but also plays a role in activities of the brain, kidney, heart and blood. Goat milk has a higher phosphorous content than cow's milk.
Zinc functions as an antioxidant and is also important for a strong immune system and for healthy skin and production of hormones. Zinc levels in goat and cow's milk are comparable.
Sodium in the body is important for maintaining fluid balances, but too much sodium has been implicated in high blood pressure for some people. One cup of both goat milk and cow's milk provides about 1/5 of the recommended daily intake for adults, with reports varying of which product actually contains more.
Goat milk has a substantial advantage in potassium content over cow's milk, containing about 134% more. Potassium is important in maintaining a healthy blood pressure and in muscle contraction.
All milk is notably low in levels of iron, a mineral used in the production of red blood cells, and copper, which is important for healthy skin and hair. However, in comparison, goat milk does contain more of these minerals than cow's milk.
Magnesium is particularly beneficial to the heart, helping to maintain a regular heartbeat, preventing the formation of blood clots and raising good cholesterol levels. It also works with calcium and vitamin D to maintain healthy bones. Goat milk has a higher content of magnesium than cow's milk.
Manganese is probably the least known of the minerals, but it too has important functions in the human body. Along with some of the other nutrients, it is an antioxidant, and it also complements digestion by helping the body convert protein and fat to energy. Manganese also helps the body absorb thiamin, one of the B vitamins. Goat milk is significantly higher in manganese than cow's milk.
The final of the natural minerals we'll look at is selenium. Selenium is generally accepted as a powerful cancer prevention nutrient. In addition to its inclusion in antioxidant enzymes, it also is essential to helping the body produce its own antioxidant, glutathione peroxidase.
Selenium also strengthens the immune system and plays a role in keeping the heart and blood vessels healthy. In a comparative study of human, cow and goat milk [Debski, Picciano and Milner, 1987], researchers found that, although the amounts of selenium in each were comparable,
selenium from goat milk resulted in more than twice the peroxidase activity of that from human and cow milk.
It seems, however, that the amount of mineral is not the only nutritional factor. In a study on iron deficiency reported in the article, Goat Milk Prevents Iron Deficiency - Study, it was concluded that goat milk both prevents iron deficiency and combats softening of the bones. The article states that
...regular consumption of goats' milk aids mineral metabolism.
Now that you know the facts, don't let vitamins take all the glory--think about how much your body depends on these natural minerals, and then...
Go grab a glass of goat milk!
Debski, Bogdan, M.F. Picciano, and John A. Milner, "Selenium Content and Distribution of Human, Cow and Goat Milk," The Journal of Nutrition, 1987.
Haenlein, George F.W., "Composition of Goat Milk and Factors Affecting It," http://goatconnection.com/articles/publish/article_70.shtml, October 28, 2002.
Nutritional studies are ongoing, so check back here for any new information related to natural minerals nutrition in goat milk!