• The debate of cow milk versus buffalo milk is fairly old
  • Milk is a natural source of protein and calcium
  • Milk also helps growth and development

Milk is one of the most important foods in the world. Mother’s milk is the first food we consume, and continue with milk that comes from cows, buffalo, sheep and goats. Certain regions may also use milk of camel, donkey or yaks, as per availability. Whatever the source, there is no denying that milk and milk products are an integral part of our daily diet. It is a versatile, nutrient-rich fluid with several health benefits. Products like yogurt, cheese, paneer, khoya etc. made from milk are also used extensively in our food preparations. Nutritionally, milk is considered an essential food for babies and growing children. For adults, it is the best source of bioavailable calcium in addition to quality proteins. 
The debate that cow’s milk is better than buffalo milk, or vice-versa, has been around for some time. To come to some conclusion, let’s compare the two on the basis of:

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1.    Nutritional Value
2.    Traditional Thinking
3.    Availability
4.    Palatability
5.    Versatility of Use



WATER gm 86 80
PROTEIN gm 3.26 3.68
FAT gm 4.48 6.58
CHO gm 4.94 8.39
ENERGY Kcal 72.89 107.3
CALCIUM mg 118 121
PHOSPHORUS mg 96.5 86.9

NIN Indian Food Composition Tables 2017

My take:
Nutritionally, both forms of milk stand in a similar position. But, carbs are almost twice the amount in Buffalo milk and the total fat content is higher in buffalo milk.
Cow’s milk is lighter and can be stated to be less fattening. Because of its lesser fat and carb content, it is more easily digested, making it a good choice for infants and aged people.
Buffalo milk on the other hand will make better paneer, desserts and ghee. It is also a better choice for body builders and those lucky people who need to put on weight.

(Also Read: All You Ever Wanted To Know About Milk Nutrition And Lactose Intolerance. Find It Here!)



Ayurveda Evidence: 
Ayurveda believes that both sources of milk are nutritious and choices should be made on the basis of personal health goals. Both milks act as natural aphrodisiacs; both provide strength and both calm Pitta dosh while helping in relieving burning sensation. However, ghee from buffalo milk may increase Kappha dosh, but that from cow’s milk calms Pitta dosh while improving digestion. Both are cooling. 

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My Take:
Based on the above evidence, I would recommend that choose according to your health goals. Cow’s milk seems better for children, aged and people with impaired digestion.


Cow’s milk seems better for children, aged and people with impaired digestion.


Unless you are getting the animal milked in front of you, most milk delivered at home would be mixed milk. There are some farms that are reliable as the source of milk; even the commercial dairies like Mother dairy and Amul pack cow milk separately.
My take: Choose your source of milk after due diligence if you are particular about the source.


It all comes down to personal taste and choice. Both kinds of milk are sweet on the tongue, buffalo milk being a little creamier. 
My Take: Personal taste should make you choose, although, both are equally good in taste.


Both kinds of milk are sweet on the tongue


Evidence: Buffalo milk makes better paneer, khoya and desserts. Cow’s milk is lighter so will give a more watery taste to the dishes. Here, I personally think that Buffalo milk is better.
Milk has several health benefits:

  • Nutritionally, milk is a great source of proteins. Milk contains 82% casein and 18% whey proteins. Whey proteins are associated with protection against some cancers. Studies have proven that whey proteins enhance immune responses and have also shown anti-microbial activity. Some studies have also hinted at anti-viral activity of whey proteins.
  • It supports bone and heart health, both of which need adequate daily intake of calcium. 
  • Milk is a good source of potassium, which helps the blood vessels dilate and reduce blood pressure. 
  • Fermented milk products like yogurt and cheese are known to be beneficial for gut health and the immune system. Probiotics and immune system are closely related. Yogurt is one of the best probiotics and is easily available.
  • The calcium and vitamin D in milk may protect against cancer.
  • Fortified milk is a good source of Vitamin D, which in turn helps in the production of the happy hormone Serotonin, aiding in mental health.
  • Tryptophan present in milk helps with better sleep. Milk at bedtime is known to help sleep better and has been traditionally used across the world.

Final Verdict:

Milk is good for every age. As adults, we need low fat or skimmed milk, two glasses a day are more than adequate to meet our nutritional needs. Adding adequate milk in your daily diet is a necessary option. You get health benefits and if the quality and quantity is right, you can’t go wrong.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

(This content inc
luding advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.)

About Rupali DattaRupali Datta is a Clinical Nutritionist and has worked in leading corporate hospitals. She has created and lead teams of professionals to deliver clinical solutions for patients across all medical specialties including critical care. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association and Indian Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.

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