Facing the dairy section at the local store, dairy products made from cow milk far outweigh goat options. Among the sea of different milks now available — including almond, soy and coconut — is usually only one brand of goat milk.

That characteristic goaty taste you find in store-bought goat milk is due to the acids contained in the milk, making it a difficult product to get on grocery shelves. Goat milk contains caproic and lactic acid, which accelerate the "goaty" taste, especially if the milk is not quickly chilled below 40 degrees to prevent the pungent flavor only artisan cheese makers love.

But goat milk fresh from the farm is sweeter and creamier than any you can get from a cow. In fact, 65 percent of milk consumption in the world is goat, and there's one big reason: goat milk is healthier.

Fat globules in goat milk are smaller and don't clump together like they do in cow milk, making it easier to digest. Most people who are allergic to cow milk are reacting to a protein in the milk called alpha S1 casein. The levels of alpha S1 casein in goat milk are far less than in cow milk, so 50 percent of the people who are allergic to cow milk usually can tolerate goat milk.

Goat milk contains more A2 casein (similar to human breastmilk). This means fewer inflammatory, allergic and intolerance reactions, and fewer GI digestive problems.

Goat milk is higher in calcium and vitamins than cow milk. Goat milk on average contains 25 percent more vitamin B6, 40-50 percent more vitamin A, almost three times more niacin, 27 percent more selenium and 134 percent more potassium.

Studies on rats show goat milk aids in digestive and metabolic absorption of iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. A 2007 study from the University of Granada in Spain compared goat milk to cow milk and found drinking goat milk could aid in preventing anemia and bone demineralization.

Goat milk consumption is also linked to reducing symptoms of an irritable bowl syndrome, Crohn's disease, ear infections, asthma, eczema and rheumatoid arthritis. The vitamin A content in goat milk is good for the skin. Higher amounts of selenium and zinc contained in goat milk are shown to prevent neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and possibly have anti-cancer properties.

Goat milk contains higher amounts of essential omega-6 fatty acids than in cow milk. And, as pointed out in the research book, "The Effect of Fatty Acids in Goat Milk on Health," the benefits continue:

"Goat milk exceeds cow and sheep milk in monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fatty acids and medium-chain triglycerides, which all are known to be beneficial for human health, especially for cardiovascular condition.

"Also found in goat milk, capric and caprylic acids and medium-chain triglycerides have become established medical treatments for an array of clinical disorders, including malabsorption syndromes ... epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, coronary by-pass and gallstones, because of their unique metabolic ability to provide direct energy instead of being deposited in adipose tissues, and because of their actions of lowering serum cholesterol, inhibiting and limiting cholesterol deposition."

Goat milk is also better for the environment. Goats eat less, take up less space and can exist in terrain that cows cannot. Goat farms tend to be smaller farms with far less use of antibiotics and hormones. They produce less methane, and goat manure is readily usable in gardens whereas cow manure usually needs to cure. All these factors lead to an overall smaller carbon footprint from a goat farm compared to cow.

Because of the acid content in goat milk, getting milk into mainstream stores is difficult and tends to not have the best tasting product. However, the health benefits from drinking goat milk make finding a high-quality source — such as a small farm or local markets — high on the to-do list.