Goat Cheese: Nutrition and Benefits
Creamy and distinct in flavor, goat cheese is a dairy product enjoyed around the world.
Goat cheese comes in a wide variety of flavors and textures, from soft and spreadable fresh cheese to salty, crumbly aged cheese.
Although it’s made using the same coagulation and separation process as cheese made from cow’s milk, goat cheese differs in nutrient content.
Additionally, goat cheese is digested differently than cow’s milk and is a hypoallergenic alternative for those allergic to cheese made from cow’s milk.
This article explains the nutritional benefits of goat cheese and provides creative ways to add this delicious cheese to your diet.
Goat cheese, also known as chèvre, refers to any cheese made from goat’s milk. It is available in many forms including fresh cheese logs, aged cheddar and even brie.
The nutritional content of goat cheese varies depending on the processing method used, such as aging or curing.
All types of goat cheese contain nutrients that are beneficial to your health such as healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Although the recommended serving size for goat cheese is small, eating just one ounce (28 grams) provides impressive amounts of nutrients.
A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of soft-style goat cheese provides:
- Calories: 102
- Protein: 6 grams
- Fat: 8 grams
- Vitamin A: 8% of the RDI
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 11% of the RDI
- Calcium: 8% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 10% of the RDI
- Copper: 8% of the RDI
- Iron: 3% of the RDI
It’s also a good source of selenium, magnesium and niacin (vitamin B3).
A serving of goat cheese delivers 6 grams of filling protein along with a powerful combination of calcium, phosphorus and copper — nutrients that are essential for healthy bones.
Plus, goat cheese provides healthy fats, including medium-chain fatty acids, that can improve satiety and benefit weight loss.
What’s more, goat’s milk contains more medium-chain fatty acids than cow’s milk. These are rapidly broken down and absorbed by the body and are less likely to be stored as fat.
Certain fats found in goat’s milk may promote health in other ways, as well.
For example, goat’s milk contains capric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that has been shown to possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Test-tube and animal studies have found that capric acid is effective in combating P. acnes, a type of bacteria that increases inflammation and can be involved in the development of acne.
Goat cheese is a good source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. The fatty acids found in goat’s milk have antibacterial qualities and may help increase satiety.
Probiotics are friendly bacteria that benefit your health in many ways.
Depending on the type, goat cheese can contain a wide variety of probiotics including L. acidophilus and L. plantarum.
Diets rich in probiotics have been shown to promote digestive health, reduce inflammation and boost immunity.
Interestingly, cheese is a superior carrier of probiotics due to its high fat content and hard texture, which provides protection for the bacteria.
It has been found that cheese protects probiotics during the digestion process, allowing greater numbers to be delivered to the gut where the bacteria contribute to health.
When searching for goat cheeses highest in probiotics, choose aged cheeses or those made from raw, unpasteurized milk.
Certain types of goat cheese, such as varieties made from raw, unpasteurized milk, contain beneficial bacteria called probiotics.
Many people find that switching from cow’s milk products to those made from goat’s milk is easier on their digestive system.
This is because goat milk products, including cheese, have a different protein structure than cow’s milk products. They are also naturally lower in lactose.
Lactose is the main carbohydrate in milk produced by mammals.
It is estimated that up to 70% of the world’s population has trouble digesting lactose, which causes symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, gas and diarrhea.
Experts suggest that most people with lactose malabsorption can consume a small amount (up to around 12 grams) of lactose before experiencing digestive symptoms.
Since goat milk contains less lactose than cow’s milk, products made from goat’s milk, including yogurt and cheese, may be a better choice for those with lactose intolerance.
However, those with lactose intolerance should keep in mind that softer cheeses contain more lactose than hard, aged cheeses, regardless of what milk the cheese is made from.
Goat milk also has lower levels of A1 casein than cow’s milk, a type of protein which may cause milk sensitivity symptoms in some people by causing inflammation in the gut.
Goat milk products contain mostly A2 casein, a type of protein that has been shown to be less allergenic and less inflammatory than the A1 variety.
For example, a study in 45 people with lactose intolerance found that drinking milk containing A1 casein caused digestive distress and increased markers of inflammation.
When these people switched to milk containing only A2 casein, digestive symptoms were not aggravated and intestinal inflammation improved significantly.
Goat cheese has less lactose and significantly less A1 casein than cow’s milk, which makes it a better choice for those intolerant to dairy products made from cow’s milk.
For example, dairy products made from goat’s milk have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties and may even help decrease hunger.
Goat’s milk is higher in short- and medium-chain fatty acids than cow’s milk. In particular, goat’s milk contains high amounts of the medium-chain fatty acids capric acid and caprylic acid.
These fatty acids are digested rapidly, providing an immediate source of energy which leads to increased feelings of satiety.
A study in 33 adults demonstrated that consuming a goat milk-based breakfast containing goat cheese significantly reduced the desire to eat and resulted in decreased ratings of hunger compared to a cow’s milk-based breakfast.
Reducing hunger and increasing fullness are important factors that can help promote weight loss.
Aside from increasing fullness, studies have shown that goat’s milk products may help reduce inflammation in your body.
One study found that compared to donkey milk, goat milk significantly decreased levels of the inflammatory proteins interleukin-8 and interleukin-6 in healthy elderly people.
Products made from goat milk, including cheese, may help increase fullness and decrease feelings of hunger, which could promote weight loss.