It is official - the health benefits of New Zealand sheep milk are superior to cow milk.
Research from the University of Auckland and Liggins Institute shows local sheep milk contains more nutrients than cows’, and it is also free from bacteria.
Dr Amber Milan said for the first time human trials had been undertaken and ewes’ milk was the winner.
“A glass-for-glass comparison of digestion was carried out comparing sheep and cow’s milk with 30 women,” Milan said.
“We looked at the amounts of protein and fats that were available in their circulation after a glass and what we found was the higher amounts of protein showed up, and fatty acids as well in sheep’s milk.”
Milan said there were higher amounts of proteins - amino acids - that help build muscle in the sheep milk and other nutrients as well such as calcium and potassium.
The higher level of minerals can be digested by humans more quickly in sheep milk as opposed to cow milk so it is a faster and great source of energy.
Milan said the high level of total solids also meant it made more cheese per volume compared to cow milk - resulting in less waste.
Another plus was that New Zealand ewes grazed on lush pastures and are raised in a unique climate that produces top-quality milk which appeals to overseas markets, she said.
“There is already evidence that sheep milk is successful as it is being exported to Australia and China.
“Now there are opportunities to process it further and adapt it to make the sheep milk industry even more productive.
“It’s an exciting area for growth.”