Buffalo Milk: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

Buffalo Milk: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

Introduction: 

Buffalo Milk

We drink milk regularly and consume products made from milk to gain nutritional benefits and feel strong and healthy. Buffalo milk is considered richer than cow’s milk, as it has more nutrients. Scientifically buffaloes are called Bubalus bubalis and these buffaloes are highly adaptable. World milk production has grown twice in the last two decades and buffalo milk has shown an annual growth rate of approximately 2.5% higher than cow’s milk. The largest producers of buffalo milk are China, India, and Pakistan. Additionally, the nutritional uses of buffalo milk make it a potential alternative to cow’s milk, even for people having milk allergies.1 Let us look into buffalo milk nutrition, buffalo milk benefits, buffalo milk disadvantages and the precautions needed for taking buffalo milk.  

Nutritional Value of Buffalo Milk: 

Buffalo milk contains the following nutrients: 

Nutrient  Amount per 100 g 
Buffalo milk protein  3.75 g 
Fats  6.89 g 
Carbohydrates  5.18 g 
Water   83.4 g 
Energy   97 kcal 
Iron   0.12 mg 
Calcium   169 mg 
Magnesium  31 mg 
Sodium  52 mg 
Potassium   178 mg 
Phosphorus  117 mg 
Manganese  0.018 mg 
Copper  0.046 mg 
Zinc   0.22 mg 
Vitamin A  53 µg 
Vitamin B1  0.052 mg 
Vitamin B2  0.135 mg 
Vitamin B3  0.091 mg 
Vitamin B5  0.192 mg 
Vitamin B6  0.023 mg 
Vitamin B9  6 µg 
Vitamin B12  0.36 µg 
Vitamin C  2.3 mg 

Table 1: Nutrients present in 100 g of buffalo milk.2 

Properties of Buffalo Milk:  

Buffalo milk might possess the following properties: 

  • It may act as antioxidant 
  • It might have anti-inflammatory property 
  • It might have anti-diabetic activity 
  • It may have anticancer potential  
  • It may have antihypertensive activity 
  • It may act as antimicrobial  
  • It might have probiotic activity1 

Potential Uses of Buffalo Milk for Overall Health:  

Buffalo milk contains several nutrients that may have many health benefits to humans. Some of the potential uses of buffalo milk are as follows: 

1. Potential uses of buffalo milk for heart 

As seen in studies, fermented buffalo milk may contain bacteria such as Lactis and this bacterium might be helpful for the heart. Its consumption may lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels. Therefore, daily consumption of fermented buffalo milk might be helpful for the heart.1 If you have any heart problems, consult the doctor and take proper medication. Do not self-medicate.  

2. Potential uses of buffalo milk for weight management 

Although buffalo milk calories are relatively higher when compared to cow’s milk, buffalo milk may contain the bacteria L.paracasei and these bacteria may show anti-obesity effects on body fat. It also contains probiotics that might help in managing body weight. Therefore, buffalo milk might benefit in managing weight.1 Do not take anything on your own and consult your doctor, they will accurately diagnose and treat you.  

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3. Potential uses of buffalo milk for boosting immunity 

L.plantarum is a bacterium that may increase the quality of dairy products and is present in buffalo milk. This L.plantarum is known to enhance the absorption of minerals, and vitamins and stimulate the generation of proteins. These probiotics may increase protection against pathogens in the gastrointestinal tract and may boost immunity.1 The buffalo milk might have probiotic nature and may help in boosting immunity. If you have any immunity-related diseases, consult the doctor and do not self-medicate.  

4. Potential uses of buffalo milk for diabetes 

Buffalo milk was tested for anti-diabetic activity in animals, where it showed an anti-diabetic effect. Buffalo milk contains probiotics which might act against diabetes. Therefore, buffalo milk may have the potential to lower diabetes. However, more studies on humans are required to confirm its effectiveness.1,3 Diabetes is a serious condition and must be accurately diagnosed and treated by a doctor. Do not self-medicate. 

5. Potential uses of buffalo milk as probiotic 

Milk may contain health-promoting bacteria known as probiotics. The consumption of probiotic dairy products might be beneficial for health and may help in lowering cholesterol levels, managing weight, reducing heart-related diseases and brain stroke.1 However, consult your doctor for the stated conditions and do not self-medicate. 

6. Potential uses of buffalo milk for other diseases 

Buffalo milk and its products are a major source of protein, which may positively regulate human health and may show beneficial effects such as anticancer, antimicrobial (fight bacteria), antihypertensive (lowers BP).1Do not self-medicate. It is important that you consult your doctor.  

Though there are studies that show the benefits of buffalo milk in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of buffalo milk on human health. 

How to Use Buffalo Milk: 

You can drink buffalo milk with/without any additives. You can also make your favourite recipes like milkshakes, coffee, tea, and cake with buffalo milk. However, you must seek expert advice before consuming buffalo milk.  

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking buffalo milk in large quantities or any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.   

Side Effects of Buffalo Milk: 

Some people are allergic to cow’s milk, and there is a possibility that they might be allergic to buffaloes’ milk as well. Allergies due to milk may be due to one or more proteins present in the milk. Milk allergies are common in children and may also grow later in life, and they build a tolerance to milk. In addition, a few individuals are unable to produce enough lactose. So, when they drink milk the bacteria in the large intestine break down the lactose and show some symptoms; this is called lactose intolerance. The symptoms include: 

  • Bloating 
  • Gas 
  • Pain 
  • Diarrhoea4  
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Also, avoid using buffalo milk for its properties or against any health conditions without consulting your doctor. If you are allergic to milk consult the doctor and take proper advice.  

Precautions to Take with Buffalo Milk: 

An individual should take the following precautions: 

  • A person should always confirm that the milk is pasteurized while taking it from a local shop. Unpasteurized milk can be harmful and cause severe gastrointestinal disease.  
  • People allergic to any milk should first consult their doctor before taking buffalo milk.4  

Before using buffalo milk for any disease condition, make sure you have consulted with your doctor about the possible precautions. It will help you avoid any unwanted effects. 

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

Buffalo milk might interact with medicines and alter their activity. However, there is not much information available on the interaction of buffalo milk with medicines. More studies and research are needed to check if it affects any medicines. Therefore, if you are taking any medications, it is important that you consult your doctor after knowing it is safer for you to consume buffalo milk. 

FAQs:

Q. Is buffalo milk better than cow milk?

A. Buffalo milk has more fat, protein, and lactose than cow milk, making it richer and creamier. It depends on personal dietary needs and preferences.

Q. Can lactose intolerant individuals drink buffalo milk?

A. Buffalo milk contains lactose, so it may not be suitable for lactose-intolerant individuals. Lactose-free versions may be available.

Q. How does buffalo milk taste compared to cow milk?

A. Buffalo milk is creamier and has a slightly sweeter taste due to its higher fat content.

Q. Is buffalo milk good for babies?

A. Buffalo milk is sometimes used in infant formulas in certain cultures, but it’s essential to consult a pediatrician before introducing it to infants.

Q. How should buffalo milk be stored?

A. Buffalo milk should be refrigerated and consumed before the expiration date. It can also be frozen for longer storage.

Q. Can buffalo milk be used in baking?

A. Yes, buffalo milk can be used in baking, providing a richer texture and flavor to baked goods.

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