A cow provide 90% of the world's milk. Water buffalo, camels, goats, sheep, yaks, and reindeer are also milked. A great dietary support for millions of people where climates are harsh and water is scarce, camels provide milk with serious nutritional value. Buffalos are the predominant dairy animal in countries like India and Pakistan, so they contribute about 13 percent of the world’s total milk production. Compared to cow’s milk, buffalo has more fat, protein, lactose, and minerals—and yields more cream, butter, and cheese owing to its higher solids content. It’s also known for its distinct flavor, which is notably nutty when boiled, due to the release of sulfhydryl compounds. Yaks are very tolerant of cold weather, which makes them a necessary alternative to cow’s milk in some regions of the world. They live primarily in high-mountain areas like western China and Mongolia, where they’re sometimes the only dairy species available. Yak milk itself is very nutritious, —there’s more protein in yak milk than cow, goat, or even human milk, and higher individual amino acids content and more total amino acids, comparatively. In the Tibetan Plateau, where some 95 percent of the world’s yaks live, people drink yak milk and yak butter in teas. Reindeer milk is an essential part of the economy and well-being of some communities in northern Eurasia and (the very cold) taiga regions, where cows can’t survive. The fat composition of reindeer milk is similar to cow’s, as is the concentration of calcium, though it is lower in sodium and potassium.
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