Sheep have been raised for milk for thousands of years and were milked before cows. The world’s commercial dairy sheep industry is concentrated in Europe and the countries on or near the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the sheep milk produced is made into sheep cheeses, including the famous feta and ricotta variants. Now-a-days sheep cheese can be found in most supermarkets and in some European stores.
Sheep milk has many great health benefits that may have been over looked or forgotten about in your household.
Besides its exquisite taste, sheep milk is highly nutritious and easily digested by most. It contains high levels of vitamins A, B and E, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and even contains double the amount of calcium when compared to a cow’s milk. It contains an exceptionally high level of protein and a greater proportion of short and medium chained fatty acids. This can mean that consumption of sheep cheese is unlikely to raise your cholesterol levels. Further to this, one of the fats found in sheep milk includes conjugated linoleic acid, a fat-reducing fat.
When comparing sheep milk to regular dairy milk, it has been found that sheep milk has a greater tolerability level. Research shows that the lactose in sheep milk is far more tolerated than that from other milks, even for those severely lactose intolerant. Further to this, casein, a reactive protein found in milk products, has also been shown to be well tolerated when consumed from a sheep source.
All health benefits aside, don’t forget that sheep milk and cheese are highly fatty and energy dense foods. Despite the exquisite taste, over consumption of sheep cheese is not recommended. Moderation is key. Next time you see sheep cheese, why not try it? It goes great on the Home-made savoury crackers!