FACT 1 - HIGH CALCIUM AND MINERAL CONTENT

Calcium and mineral content are high in sheep milk compared with other milks and remember that Lacto-calcium is much more easily absorbed than Calcium carbonate which is, after all, marble.

Together with lactose and Vitamin D, (almost twice as much as cows milk) the calcium in sheep milk is vital in the fight against Osteoporosis, the scourge in both the UK and USA.

Bone density is laid down in adolescence and it is vitally important for children going on into their teens to drink milk. Most soft drinks, so popular among the young, actually destroy bone density.

Calcium is also needed after any debilitating illness. Zinc is essential for the maintenance of healthy skin and is much recommended for many more things besides a good sex life including anorexia. Also for those who understand these things the calcium : phosphorus ratio is as nearly perfect as possible, i.e. one cannot be digested without the other.

FACT 2 - VITAMINS

The Vitamins, mainly the B complex as well as A, D and E are all essential to good health and are most often recommended to be taken as a supplement. Why bother, when they are all in sheep milk. The milk is particularly well endowed with both Folic acid and B12 both sold as expensive supplements in every chemist and Health food shop.

FACT 3 - FATS

People can be put off by the high fat level quoted for sheep milk. There are a number of things to understand before condemning the milk to be skimmed before it becomes acceptable. Remember that within the so called "fats" are three fat soluble vitamins, i.e. incorporated within the fat, without which you could be very ill if not dead. These are A, D and E. Sheep milk contains considerably more of these three vitamins than cow or goat milk. The vitamin D load is 0.18 g/100g against summer cow milk at 0.04 g/100g (British Nutritional Foundation).

Sheep milk also contains a higher proportion of medium/short chain saturated fatty acids and it is believed that this leads to a higher lactose absorption of benefit to the mildly lactose intolerant.

The other point is that sheep milk is not as high in saturated fatty acids as other milks, 45% of the fatty acids are either Mono or Polyunsaturated.

Another thing is if you or any of your friends ever go on another binge, like the one most of us went on over the New Year, called "the longest party season in history" then drink a glass of high fat sheep milk three hours before you go out and it will line your stomach.

FACT 4 - WHEY PROTEINS

The whey proteins, are the really easily digested form of protein found in milk which does not get incorporated in cheese, but slips out in the whey. Sheep milk is three times higher in this form of protein than cow or goat milk making the whole milk easier to digest.

FACT 5 - PROTEINS

These come last because little work has really been done on them in sheep. Lamb is often the most recommended meat for people with intolerance to meat and without a sheep cheese, made of the main protein, casein, is acceptable to almost all who cannot tolerate cow or goat milk products.

FACT 6 - LACTOSE

Even if people are severely lactose intolerant, the lactose will have been converted into lactic acid if they take their sheep milk in the form of yoghurt and much of the lactose goes out with the whey in hard cheese making.

There is also evidence that the lactose in sheep milk is more readily tolerated than from other milk and certainly worth a try.

Remember that any illness or any cause for the use of antibiotics reduces your immune system, however wonderful antibiotics may be, they usually kill the good bugs along with the bad. Yoghurt, especially Acidolphus yoghurt, helps to redress this and restore the gut flora back to its original load, all working to prevent you getting ill again.

If nothing else can be said for sheep milk it is an excellent food.

Before 1990 the Government decreed that it should be regulated as food not as milk, and they were right. Now it has lost its edge being legislated for as just milk. However it is now hoped that some doctors and researchers will start to look at the milk more seriously as the body of evidence in its ability to help a lot of people lead more normal lives is very compelling.

Source: British Sheep Dairying Association (BSDA)