7 Amazing Benefits of Sheep Milk

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Sheep milk is a delicious alternative to cow milk, and also provides a number of health benefits, including an ability to lower cholesterol levels, strengthen the bones, boost the immune system, stimulate growth and development, prevent birth defects, reduce inflammation, and lower blood pressure.

Sheep Milk

When it comes to non-human milk, there are only a few animals on which the human population relies, such as cows, goats, buffalo, and sheep. Sheep milk has been used for thousands of years as a form of sustenance around the world, and while it is not nearly as common as cow milk, there is a reason for its perennial popularity. It is actually superior to buffalo, cow, and goat milk in a few important categories, and also has a unique, delicious flavor that has become a cultural staple for cuisine in certain regions. Sheep milk comes from the mammary gland of the ewe (female sheep) and is intended to nurse their young, but humans have also been raising and milking sheep for generations. [1]

Sheep milk is used in the production of numerous famous sheep milk cheeses, including feta and Roquefort, in addition to making various yogurts and even being drunk as a standard beverage, although this is less common. When you consume milk from sheep or its derivative products, you are getting an impressive boost in protein, carbohydrates, beneficial fats, essential minerals, and important vitamins. Due to the limited time of the year that most sheep produce milk, constant cultivation is more difficult, which is why sheep milk and related products are typically more expensive and harder to find. [2]

Sheep Milk Vs Cow Milk

When it comes to protein content, non-human kinds of milk are excellent sources, but sheep milk is considered the best. With 5.4 grams of protein per 100 grams of milk, sheep milk is better than cow milk (3.2 grams), goat milk (3.1 grams), and buffalo milk (4.5 grams). This makes it extremely important for growth and development, as complete proteins are essential for the production of tissues, cells, and bone matter in the body. Furthermore, protein is a great form of usable, easily accessible energy that keeps you active and operating normally. [3]

Close up of an isolated sheep on a green grass

A sheep posing for a photo. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Milk, sheep, fluid
Serving Size :
Water [g]80.7
Energy 108
Energy [kJ]451
Protein [g]5.98
Total lipid (fat) [g]7
Ash [g]0.96
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]5.36
Calcium, Ca [mg]193
Iron, Fe [mg]0.1
Magnesium, Mg [mg]18
Phosphorus, P [mg]158
Potassium, K [mg]137
Sodium, Na [mg]44
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.54
Copper, Cu [mg]0.05
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.02
Selenium, Se [µg]1.7
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]4.2
Thiamin [mg]0.07
Riboflavin [mg]0.36
Niacin [mg]0.42
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.41
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.06
Folate, total [µg]7
Folate, food [µg]7
Folate, DFE [µg]7
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0.71
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]44
Retinol [µg]44
Vitamin A, IU [IU]147
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]4.6
4:0 [g]0.2
6:0 [g]0.15
8:0 [g]0.14
10:0 [g]0.4
12:0 [g]0.24
14:0 [g]0.66
16:0 [g]1.62
18:0 [g]0.9
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]1.72
16:1 [g]0.13
18:1 [g]1.56
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.31
18:2 [g]0.18
18:3 [g]0.13
Cholesterol [mg]27
Tryptophan [g]0.08
Threonine [g]0.27
Isoleucine [g]0.34
Leucine [g]0.59
Lysine [g]0.51
Methionine [g]0.16
Cystine [g]0.04
Phenylalanine [g]0.28
Tyrosine [g]0.28
Valine [g]0.45
Arginine [g]0.2
Histidine [g]0.17
Alanine [g]0.27
Aspartic acid [g]0.33
Glutamic acid [g]1.02
Glycine [g]0.04
Proline [g]0.58
Serine [g]0.49
Sources include : USDA [4]

Health Benefits of Sheep Milk

Let’s take a look at some of the most important health benefits of sheep milk.

Boosts Immunity

With the rich combination of minerals and nutrients found in sheep milk, including vitamins A and vitamin E, your immune system can get a solid healthy boost. Vitamins A and E both act as antioxidants within the body, seeking out free radicals and eliminating them from the system, thus preventing the onset of chronic disease and oxidative stress. This type of milk is also very good for improving the health and appearance of the skin, mainly through the activity of vitamin E. [5]

Prevents Birth Defects

Sheep milk contains a number of different B vitamins, including high levels of folate, which is extremely important for female reproductive health, as well as our overall metabolism. Folate deficiency is closely associated with neural tube defects, which can permanently impact the quality of life for your infant. Therefore, milk from a sheep can be a great way to balance your hormonal levels and ensure a healthy delivery! [6]

Regulates Blood Pressure

The concentration of key amino acids in sheep milk is higher than the levels found in cow, goat and buffalo milk, and these amino acids act in a similar way to certain blood pressure-mediating drugs. For people who prefer a natural approach to their health, this type of milk can be a good option for protecting heart health by reducing the strain on blood vessels and arteries. [7]

Bone Mineral Density

As with all varieties of milk, sheep milk contains an impressive array of essential minerals, including zinc, magnesium, and calcium. These are all important components for boosting bone mineral density in the body, which tends to decrease as we age. To prevent the onset of osteoporosis and ensure an active healthy lifestyle well into your old age, milk from sheep or its products can be an effective and delicious option. It contains roughly twice as much calcium as cow and goat milk, protecting your bones and teeth! [8]

Low Cholesterol Levels

It’s true that sheep milk contains nearly twice as much fat as cow milk, but it must be remembered that not all fats are bad. In fact, monounsaturated fats, like those found in sheep milk, can actually help to lower total cholesterol in the body. Medium-chain triglycerides also make up about 25% of the fat content in this animal milk, and these have been connected to reducing fat deposits in the body and improving the conversion of protein into energy. [9]

Word of Caution: As mentioned above, sheep milk is quite high in fat, so if you are currently suffering from obesity or other weight-related conditions, using it as a source of your nutrients may not be the wisest choice. The higher level of calories in this alternative to cow milk can also make weight loss more difficult if you aren’t conscious of your intake. Speak with a medical professional or a nutritionist to ensure that changing to sheep milk is the best choice for your personal diet.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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