Goat milk isn't exactly the most popular brand of milk on the market. Cow milk, various nut milks, and soya milk all come in way ahead of the animal derivative in terms of sales, but we could be missing a trick.
A new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition looks at the qualities of two different types of goat milk formula, according to Science Daily. Researchers specifically wanted to look at oligosaccharides, a type of probiotic that can assist the growth of good bacteria in the gut, while fending off harmful bacteria.
Goat milk contains 14 of these naturally-occurring components, compared to human breast milk, which comes in at 5. Professor Harsharn Gill, the lead investigator on the paper, claims that this is the first time an in-depth study has pitted human milk against goat milk. Gill believes that the results show that goat milk could be more beneficial for infants than breast milk, but further research is needed to come to a definite conclusion so don't make the switch just yet.
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This study doesn't discount the importance of breast milk either, which is known to provide all sorts of invaluable benefits to babies. Not only does it encourage the growth of happy, healthy microflora in the gut, but it can help the mother and baby to bond in those early days. Infant formulas are widely used too.
While these are enough to deliver all the nutrients a growing child needs, it's not known if they contain any of these oligosaccharides. As goat milk formula does contain an abundance of these, it would only make sense to consider it as a replacement option for parents in the future.
Cow milk formula has long since been the standard, but in a lot of respects, goat milk is closer to human milk when it comes to promoting healthy gut bacteria. As parents, we're always looking for products that are convenient as well as healthier for our children. We might have to wait a while before this becomes the new norm, but it's a promising concept that could have a huge impact in years to come.