Consuming This Type Of Milk Could Help You Live Longer According To Science

Certain regions around the world have lifestyles that might be tied to longevity, with 10 times more people living past 100 than in the United States. These regions, known as the Blue Zones, include the island of Sardinia in Italy, Okinawa in Japan, and Loma Linda in California. The people who live in these regions tend to be more naturally active, belong to faith-based communities, and prioritize family and friendships, according to a 2016 article in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.

A healthy diet also plays a role in the Blue Zones lifestyle. Rather than eat to excess, they will eat until they are 80% full. Their smallest meal is either late in the afternoon or early evening, and they don't eat after that. People in Blue Zones eat mostly a plant-based diet rich in beans, fruits, and vegetables. Meat is eaten maybe five times a month in small amounts just to flavor food. Milk and other dairy products are consumed in small amounts as well, with much of what they do consume being fermented into products such as yogurt, sour milk, or cheese.

However, in most of the Blue Zones, the dairy doesn't come from cows. Instead, people in Blue Zones consume milk produced from sheep and goats.

Benefits of milk from sheep and goats

According to a 2021 article in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, sheep's milk is a rich source of bioactive substances that promote health. It's loaded with fatty acids, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Sheep's milk also has a high amount of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), known for reducing obesity and type 2 diabetes. The milk also boasts biopeptides with antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, and it might combat cancer cells.

A 2021 article in Frontiers in Nutrition says that goat milk and goat dairy products can help people manage cholesterol. Goat milk also contains proteins that have been found to inhibit ACE, an enzyme linked to hypertension, potentially making goat milk products useful for managing blood pressure. Goat milk also has a more favorable omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio that's recommended for cardiovascular health. Certain compounds in goat's milk can reduce body fat and exhibit antioxidant properties, potentially protecting against conditions associated with high cholesterol and oxidative stress.

Goat and sheep milk aren't as readily available

Goat's milk isn't unique to Blue Zones. More people around the world drink goat's milk than cow's milk because it's more feasible to keep goats, according to WebMD. People who can't digest cow's milk might have an easier time with goat's milk, although goat's milk still has lactose. Goat's milk is also less likely to trigger allergies. Although most grocery stores have low-fat and skim versions of cow's milk and other dairy products, goat's milk has fewer available options. A cup of goat's milk has 168 calories and 10 grams of fat.

You're less likely to find sheep's milk in stores because it only makes up 1% of the world's milk production. It's also more expensive because sheep don't produce as much milk as cows. Sheep's milk is much thicker, which is why you'll find it in cheeses such as feta, ricotta, romano, and Roquefort (perĀ Sheep 101). Sheep's milk is also hefty in calories but high in protein. A cup of sheep's milk has 265 calories, 15 grams of protein, and 17 grams of fat.