Goat milk? Yes, it’s good for you

Tuesday November 21 2017

A farm employee milks a dairy goat. Researchers

A farm employee milks a dairy goat. Researchers and doctors have fronted goat milk as a source of nutrients hence beneficial to your general health and wellbeing. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By BENJAMIN OPIYO

Did you know that there is milk which is not from a cow that is good for your health?

Researchers and doctors have fronted goat milk as a source of nutrients hence beneficial to your general health and wellbeing.

Many people are not familiar with goats producing milk for consumption but that is a reality in many parts of the world, Kenya included.

Goat milk has been a subject for many health researches over the past.

The largest dairy goat organisation and registry in the US, the American Dairy Goat Association declared in May 2015 that goat milk has more riboflavin and phosphorus than cow milk.

The US based not-for-profit corporation with two million goats in its registry found in its research findings that the milk has more nutritional value than cow milk.

MORE NUTRITIOUS

Research has proved that goat milk is more nutritious than cow milk.

Some of Joseph Odhiambo's goats. PHOTO|

Some of Joseph Odhiambo's goats. PHOTO| BENJAMIN OPIYO

The milk is also considered raw and organic because goats need only food, such as, herbs to survive as opposed to cows that require vaccinations and are exposed to GMO feed which in turn produces infected milk.

According to a research report titled Nutritional Evaluation of Kenya Alpine Dairy Goat Milk; Effect of Geographical Location vs Feeding Practices

by the Institute of Food Bio Resource and Technology, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology and the?department of food science and technology at Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, goat milk is rich in nutrients.

It contains more Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, niacin and copper.

Vitamin A is known to be good for development of vision and of teeth, soft tissues and skeletal tissues.

Vitamin C is responsible for creation and repair of blood cells, bones and tissues.

EASY TO DIGEST

The milk is easy to digest, thanks to fat globules in milk which are smaller. If that’s not enough, it has low cholesterol.

Cow milk has 14 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams while goat milk has 11 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams.

Cholesterol is beneficial to one’s health but in moderate amounts.

Dr Rahmat Attaie, a researcher at the Cooperative Agricultural Research Centre at the Prairie View A&M University in Texas, US has scientific evidence on the improved safety of goat milk.

After treatment of diseased lactating goats with the commonly used antibiotic, oxytetracycline, he monitored the residuals of this antibiotic in the milk of Nubian and Alpine breeds.

His research documented that an 82-hour threshold period of withdrawal was sufficient for oxytetracycline to clear from goat milk.

Public health officer, Moses Okello Oyaro based at Masaba hospital, Kuria West ?agrees that goat milk has a higher nutritional value thus good for your health.

“Goat milk is known to be rich in macronutrients and micronutrients. Vitamins, such as Vitamin A is good for your eyesight,” he says. Moses states that the milk is an immune booster for people who are immuno-compromised and the terminally ill because Vitamin A helps in cell regeneration and healing.

“It is also a rich source of calcium and other minerals which are good in bone formation and strengthening hence ideal for growing children and people with bone conditions like osteoporosis,” Moses adds further reiterating that it’s rich in energy, proteins, butter fat in varying propositions for growth and movement.

SENSITISATION PROGRAMME

In Kisumu County, locals got wind of the health benefits of the milk after a sensitisation program by Dominion farms, a diversified farming operation in Yala, Siaya county in a bid to eradicate poverty and encourage healthy feeding. They are now rearing goats for milk production.

79-year-old Risper Osuka is one of them. When we got to his home in Muhoroni constituency, we found her under a tree checking on her goats.

She says she decided to rear goats for their milk after a family friend advised her to.

Risper Osuka's goats in a makeshift shed.

Risper Osuka's goats in a makeshift shed. PHOTO| BENJAMIN OPIYO

“I used to live on cow milk until someone told me this secret that goat milk is healthier. Since then I have never looked back,” Risper tells me.

She did not sell her cow after the incident but her milk consumption entirely depends on goats. What’s her observation on goat milk?

“Goat milk is thicker compared to cow milk. From what I have heard, the milk is very nutritious and I can attest to that.”

Risper explains that goats eat a lot of green herbs and these contain nutrients that are beneficial to one’s health.

“Unlike cows, they eat everything from twigs, grass to plants. With such a combination, you can’t expect anything less of a healthy milk,” she says.

In an area with rampant cases of cattle rustling, goat rearing is a safe venture for her.

“Cattle rustlers haven’t found out the benefits of a goat, they keep coming for our cows. Let me enjoy their milk before someone whispers to them this secret,” she adds.

The elder at a local church has resorted to keeping her goats in a makeshift shed.

Everyday she collects a variety of green feeds and takes to the goats. On a regular day, the goats produce a litre of milk.

“That’s enough for my consumption,” she says though at times the milk reduces drastically making it difficult for human consumption.

“People around here know that goat milk is healthy but there is the notion that rearing goats is a difficult task, that’s not true,” she says with finality further encouraging people to try goat milk.

Risper Osuka,79,during the interview at her

Risper Osuka,79,during the interview at her home in Muhoroni, Kisumu County. PHOTO| BENJAMIN OPIYO

Goat milk is high in calcium and fatty acids. The calcium helps in building strong bones. The milk is good for babies because of the plenty of vitamins.

Dairy Goat Cooperative in its long term growth studies in infants fed goat infant formula. They found that goat milk infant formula is suitable and safe for infants under 12 months of age.

Two kilometres from Risper's homestead, the family of Joseph Ochieng Odhiambo also rears goats for milk consumption.

On the day we visited them, the goats were grazing far way in the fields enjoying a variety of green feeds.

“Goat milk is nutritious because goats eat herbs. By sampling different feeds while grazing in the open, their milk is bound to have more nutrients,”

Halima Odhiambo explains her decision to let them roam around. They have employed someone to look over them.

The family of Joseph Odhiambo enjoying a glass

The family of Joseph Odhiambo enjoying a glass of goat milk at their home in Kisumu County. PHOTO| BENJAMIN OPIYO

“We started to rear goats after we found that their milk is rich in minerals and nutrients. We started with a few goats but they have since multiplied,” she says further showing me the children goats in a shed. Her goats produce two litres of milk in a day, which the family consumes.

“Goat milk is also an immune booster,” she dishes on the health advantages of the 'thick' milk from goats as compared to cow milk.

For her, goat milk is more beneficial to one’s health than cow milk.

“People don’t see that goats can give them an equal of what cows give them,” she laments about the stereotyping of goats and their milk production.


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