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National Milk Day 2020: Cow Milk Vs Buffalo Milk: Which Is Healthier?

Every year, 26 November is observed as National Milk Day in India. India, the largest milk-producing country celebrates this day to demonstrate the importance of milk. National Milk Day was established in 2014 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation to commemorate Dr. Varghese Kurien, who is the father of India's White Revolution.

Regarded as a complete food, milk is comprised of various nutrients and minerals critical for your body. Being rich in calcium, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fat milk benefits your body in various ways. From helping in maintaining your body weight to boosting your bone health, milk can, in fact, be termed as an all-rounder [1] .

Milk is available in different forms such as rice milk, cashew milk, cow milk, hemp milk, buffalo milk etc. And the most commonly consumed types are cow milk and buffalo milk. But have you ever wondered about the similarities and disparities of these two types and hence the impact it has on your health? Both types of milk have their positives and negatives; while cow milk is lighter and easier to digest, buffalo milk is considered heavy [2] , [3] .

While being different from one another in terms of composition and richness, both buffalo and cow milk possess properties that can be accorded to their nutritional value and health benefits [4] . So, let us get to know the varied effects these two have on our body and understand whether one is better than the other.

Nutritional Value: Cow Milk Vs Buffalo Milk

100 grams of cow milk has 42 calories, whereas buffalo milk has 97 calories [5] .

Health Benefits Of Cow Milk

1. Boosts bone health

Cow milk is rich in calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals vital for the health of your bones. It helps improve your bone density keeps your bone healthy. Likewise, the calcium content in milk is equally beneficial for improving your teeth too [6] .

2. Improves heart health

The omega-3 fatty acids in cow milk are extremely beneficial for your heart health. It helps regulate your blood cholesterol level and keeps your heart healthy for a long time. These also help prevent the onset of cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks or strokes [7] .

3. Aids weight loss

By limiting your calorie-intake during the day due to the rich content of protein in it, cow milk is beneficial if you are looking forward to shedding some weight. It also keep you feeling full for a long time [5] .

4. Prevents diabetes

Regular consumption of cow milk help regulate the blood sugar levels in the body. The high levels of vitamin B and essential minerals improve your metabolism, thereby regulating the glucose and insulin levels [7] .

5. Promotes growth

Cow milk contains complete proteins that aid in the production of energy as well as growth and natural development. According to various studies, one's physical and mental health can be boosted by this highly nutritious drink [8] .

Some of the other benefits of drinking cow milk are improved immunity, anti-inflammatory properties and muscle building.

Side Effects Of Cow Milk

  • Over-consumption can result in your bones loosing its calcium content [8] .
  • Increased risk of developing prostate and ovarian cancer.
  • The lactose in it can cause nausea, cramps, gas, bloating, and diarrhoea.
  • An increased prevalence of acne [9] .
  • Over-consumption can cause weight gain.

Health Benefits Of Buffalo Milk

1. Improves heart health

The low-fat content in buffalo milk makes it beneficial for improving your heart health. It can help rebalance your cholesterol levels and prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes [10] .

2. Promotes growth

With a high protein content, buffalo milk is impeccable beneficial for growth and development of children and adolescents. It is also beneficial for adults [11] .

3. Boosts immunity

The vitamin A and vitamin C content in buffalo milk play a significant role in improving your immune system. This help in cleansing your body and gets rid of free radicals and toxins that can cause chronic illness [12] .

4. Improves bone health

Possessing more calcium than cow milk, buffalo milk helps in preventing the onset of osteoporosis and improves your bone strength and resilience [13] .

5. Improves circulation

Buffalo milk is effective in improving the blood circulation and protecting your body against anaemia. By increasing RBC count in the body, buffalo milk boosts oxygenation and thereby improving the functioning of your organs and system [14] .

Buffalo milk is also effective in regulating one's blood pressure.

Side Effects Of Buffalo Milk

  • It has a high-fat content.
  • Over-consumption can cause sudden weight gain.
  • Aged people should avoid consuming buffalo milk as it has more absorbable calcium, in comparison to other milk types.
  • Over-consumption may cause diabetes.

Cow Milk Vs Buffalo Milk: The Healthier Option

  • Buffalo milk has a higher fat content than cow milk. Cow milk has a low percentage of fat, which makes it thinner in consistency.
  • Buffalo milk contains more protein (11 % more) in comparison to cow milk, which makes it difficult to be digested.
  • Cow milk (3.14 mg/g) has a high cholesterol content in comparison to that of buffalo milk (0.65 mg/g).
  • Cow milk reports higher water content compared to buffalo milk, giving the milk its hydrating quality.
  • Buffalo milk has a higher calorie content due to its proteins and fat.

Upon comparing the basic differences between the two types of milk, it can be asserted that one cannot deny the fact that both are healthy and safe to drink [15] . For example, buffalo milk can be preserved naturally for a longer period due to a high peroxidase activity; but has more calories than cow milk. Both buffalo milk and cow milk has its own benefits, as well as side effects which make it easier to choose the right type of milk in accordance with your body and health needs [16] . That is, if you looking forward to losing some weight, the best option is cow milk as it is low in fat, calories and protein content. Likewise, if you are looking forward to gaining weight and improve your bone health, the better option is buffalo milk. Therefore, as aforementioned, both the milk types are healthy and beneficial for your body when consumed in the right quantity [17] . One must choose the type of milk that can complement and improve their health.

View Article References
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  2. [2] Elagamy, E. I. (2000). Effect of heat treatment on camel milk proteins with respect to antimicrobial factors: a comparison with cows' and buffalo milk proteins. Food Chemistry, 68(2), 227-232.
  3. [3] Elagamy, E. I. (2000). Effect of heat treatment on camel milk proteins with respect to antimicrobial factors: a comparison with cows' and buffalo milk proteins. Food Chemistry, 68(2), 227-232.
  4. [4] Ménard, O., Ahmad, S., Rousseau, F., Briard-Bion, V., Gaucheron, F., & Lopez, C. (2010). Buffalo vs. cow milk fat globules: Size distribution, zeta-potential, compositions in total fatty acids and in polar lipids from the milk fat globule membrane. Food Chemistry, 120(2), 544-551.
  5. [5] Claeys, W. L., Cardoen, S., Daube, G., De Block, J., Dewettinck, K., Dierick, K., ... & Vandenplas, Y. (2013). Raw or heated cow milk c
  6. [6] Claeys, W. L., Verraes, C., Cardoen, S., De Block, J., Huyghebaert, A., Raes, K., ... & Herman, L. (2014). Consumption of raw or heated milk from different species: An evaluation of the nutritional and potential health benefits. Food Control, 42, 188-201.
  7. [7] El-Agamy, E. I. (2007). The challenge of cow milk protein allergy. Small Ruminant Research, 68(1-2), 64-72.
  8. [8] Bricarello, L. P., Kasinski, N., Bertolami, M. C., Faludi, A., Pinto, L. A., Relvas, W. G., ... & Fonseca, F. A. (2004). Comparison between the effects of soy milk and non-fat cow milk on lipid profile and lipid peroxidation in patients with primary hypercholesterolemia. Nutrition, 20(2), 200-204.
  9. [9] Salvatore, S., & Vandenplas, Y. (2002). Gastroesophageal reflux and cow milk allergy: is there a link?. Pediatrics, 110(5), 972-984.
  10. [10] Shoji, A. S., Oliveira, A. C., Balieiro, J. C. D. C., Freitas, O. D., Thomazini, M., Heinemann, R. J. B., ... & Fávaro-Trindade, C. S. (2013). Viability of L. acidophilus microcapsules and their application to buffalo milk yoghurt. Food and Bioproducts Processing, 91(2), 83-88.
  11. [11] Rajpal, S., & Kansal, V. K. (2008). Buffalo milk probiotic Dahi containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Lactococcus lactis reduces gastrointestinal cancer induced by dimethylhydrazine dihydrochloride in rats. Milchwissenschaft, 63(2), 122-125.
  12. [12] Han, X., Lee, F. L., Zhang, L., & Guo, M. R. (2012). Chemical composition of water buffalo milk and its low-fat symbiotic yogurt development. Functional Foods in Health and Disease, 2(4), 86-106.
  13. [13] Ahmad, S. (2013). Buffalo milk. Milk and Dairy Products in Human Nutrition: Production, Composition and Health, 519-553.
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  15. [15] Mahalle, N., Bhide, V., Greibe, E., Heegaard, C. W., Nexo, E., Fedosov, S. N., & Naik, S. (2019). Comparative Bioavailability of Synthetic B12 and Dietary Vitamin B12 Present in Cow and Buffalo Milk: A Prospective Study in Lactovegetarian Indians. Nutrients, 11(2), 304.
  16. [16] 16. Dal Bosco, C., Panero, S., Navarra, M. A., Tomai, P., Curini, R., & Gentili, A. (2018). Screening and Assessment of Low-Molecular-Weight Biomarkers of Milk from Cow and Water Buffalo: An Alternative Approach for the Rapid Identification of Adulterated Water Buffalo Mozzarellas. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 66(21), 5410-5417.
  17. [17] Fedosov, S. N., Nexo, E., & Heegaard, C. W. (2019). Vitamin B12 and its binding proteins in milk from cow and buffalo in relation to bioavailability of B12. Journal of Dairy Science.
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