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Can goat milk reduce Rural child malnutrition

By Sanjeev Kumar On 13 August 2019
Can goat milk reduce Rural child malnutrition

Malnutrition hampers next generation of the country and perhaps most serious issue if we aspire to be a developed nation in next few decades.

Goat has received least attention and in fact apathy by planners and policy makers and by society at large. This has been an asset of poor and women with landless & marginal farmers. With 135 million goats and 65 million sheeps , how access to milk as most nutritive food can change if we focus on dairy goats/sheep farming. Even today we are largest producer of goat milk and it has a role to be played in child malnutrition. A village named Jakharana near5 Bahrod (Rajasthan) has developed a dairy goat breed named on this village "Jakharana" and my study in this village has shown a decades back it was well established culture to have a milk goat, when a baby born ...But culture is dying

Rampant malnutrition and India being largest producer of goat milk with over 135 million goats in ownership of rural poor and largely women provides an unique opportunity to use this resource in combination with kitchen gardening and nutrition focused agriculture as natural way to reduce malnutrition. There are significant indicator that malnutrition need to focus women empowerment, awareness and natural source based home grown resources to combat it on sustainable way.

Here I find a scientific research that compares goat milk with other available source of milk and concludes with evidence mineral richness of goat milk which can be an asset to support health of new born baby ( post 6 months) and mothers ....

Goat milk offers a wide variety of health benefits such as better digestibility [1], more alkalinity [2], less αs1 casein than cow’s milk and is, therefore, less allergenic [3]. Goat milk also has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and medicinal property [4,5]. Goat milk contains a higher carotene (pro-vitamin A) having cancer-preventing properties. It is also useful in the treatment of ulcers due to its more effective acid buffering capacity [6]. Goat milk has a stronger flavor due to the liberation of short-chain fatty acids during rough handling, which gives off a goaty smell [7,8]. Unlike cow milk, which is slightly acidic, goat milk is alkaline in nature, which is very useful for people with acidity problems [2].

Goat milk is more digestible because of its small-sized globules, uniform protein, fat distribution, and less lactose. Modified goat milk can also be used in baby feeding [1]. Goat milk provides a healthy and a balanced diet for the children who are allergic to cow milk, as the symptoms may disappear with goat milk consumption [3]. Nutritional value of milk is closely related with its composition, which is highly affected by factors such as breed, feed, stage of lactation, and season [3,9]. Particularly during lactation, there are significant changes in the amount and composition of goat milk [10]. Various symptoms are reduced due to protein allergy, inability to digest lactose (particularly with lactose intolerance people) by taking goat’s milk.

The vitamin and mineral contents of goat’s milk and cow’s milk are fairly similar, though goat’s milk contains more calcium, vitamin B6, vitamin A, potassium, niacin, copper, and the antioxidant selenium. Goat milk is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. It is also a good source of magnesium, sodium, and iron [3,11]. Calcium helps to protect against colon cancer, improves blood clotting ability, and helps to maintain healthy blood pressure and to prevent muscle cramps/contractions. Goat milk is a good source of calcium, containing approximately 13% more calcium 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. Phosphorus works in conjunction with calcium and vitamin D that can not only 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 [12,13]. The value of goat milk in human nutrition has so far received very little academic attention.

About the Author –

Mr. Sanjeev Kumar is a ASHOKA Fellow , Founder Adviser - The Goat Trust, and is working towards  Enhancing efficiency of Livestock trade and marketing through science and technology infusion.

Tag : Nutrition ChildHealth Rural Malnutrition GoatMilk

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