It turns out that what is good for the kid is great for us.
Are you interested in healthy, good quality milk? This article is for you. It turns out that the goats grazing in the Nature Park at Ramat Hanadiv produce better quality milk for humans and also contribute to the ecosystem
The fact that goats’ milk is healthier is already general knowledge, but it turns out that not all goats produce milk of the same quality. In honor of the upcoming Shavuot holiday, we are happy to share the results of a study that examined the effect of nutrition on the production and composition of milk produced by the goats in Ramat Hanadiv’s Nature Park. And here’s a ‘spoiler’ – this milk is considered to be a ‘superfood’.
The goat herd at Ramat Hanadiv is part of the management approach that implements an ecological worldview and uses advanced management tools. The herd is used for grazing in the Nature Park throughout the year, facilitating fire prevention at the Park and contributing to enrichment of biological and landscape diversity; it is also a frequent subject of research activity.
In a study conducted over the last three years it was found that the milk produced by the goats grazing at Ramat Hanadiv has significantly higher nutritional value than the milk produced by the goats that are fed in the goat pen – the main source of milk that we purchase in the supermarket. Moreover, it was found that this milk meets the requirements of a ‘superfood’.
Milk rich in protein and fat
The study was conducted by Dr. Nurit Argov Argaman and Oren Hadaya from the Faculty of Agriculture at the Hebrew University, Dr. Yan Ladau and Hussein Maklada from the Volcani Center and Dr. Tzach Glasser, manager of the goat pen at Ramat Hanadiv. The researchers wanted to examine the effect of local nutrition on milk production and composition. Forage in the Ramat Hanadiv region mainly comprises coarse, woody Mediterranean woodland vegetation, such as the mastic tree and mock privet. This nutrition is different from that of goats that graze in northern Europe and America, where the forage is based on herbaceous vegetation. The Mediterranean forage is rich in polyphenols – compounds that at certain concentrations may cause harm to ruminants’ food digestion. However, milk goats from local varieties such as those grazing at Ramat Hanadiv, after thousands of years of domestication in the Mediterranean ecosystem, are able to base their nutrition on polyphenol-rich vegetation with no harm to their food consumption and milk production. Furthermore, it turns out that those same polyphenols even improve production efficiency, such that these goats produce milk richer in protein and fat than goats of the same variety that remain in the goat pen and receive the feed given to most commercial goat herds in Israel.
This improvement is probably facilitated by improved and more efficient digestive processes, but not only. The researchers assume that the polyphenols, or at least some of them, are absorbed into the vascular system and from there to the different tissues, including the udders. In the udders they provide a defense system against free radicals, and thus enable increased energy production. This energy is used by the udder cells for increased production of milk components.
An animal-derived ‘superfood’? It turns out that there is such a thing
In addition, polyphenol-rich nutrition encourages production of uniquely high-quality milk. The researchers previously observed that the grazing goats produce milk rich in compounds that have a positive effect on human health – the most prevalent of which is polyunsaturated omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are lacking in the western diet, and their increased consumption can improve the ability to cope with, and also slow down, metabolic diseases such as atherosclerosis and other chronic inflammatory diseases. More important is the ratio between these fatty acids and polyunsaturated omega 6 fatty acids. The current aim is to reach a maximum ratio of 5:1; foods that have this ratio or lower are considered to be ‘superfoods’. Animal-derived food products are usually not included in the list of ‘superfoods’ since their omega 6 to omega 3 ratio stands at 10:1 or higher. In contrast, in the milk from goats grazing at Ramat Hanadiv, we found that the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio reaches a maximum of 5, such that this milk, and dairy products produced from it, can be included in the list of highly respected ‘superfoods’.
According to Dr. Tzach Glasser, we can conclude that milk from natural pasture is preferable for our health than milk from goats that are fed in the goat pen. The study even testifies to the quality of the milk from grazing goat herds in other regions with Mediterranean vegetation. Without a doubt this innovative information may encourage breeders to use natural pasture to improve milk quality.
So where may this healthy milk be found?
The milk produced at Ramat Hanadiv is all sold to the Shomron Dairy in Binyamina and can be purchased in stores
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