Forget about chia seeds, goji berries or quinoa. Move over, almond milk. Cockroach milk may turn out to be the new superfood you’ll be raving about in the future.
You’re reading this right. Cockroach milk.
Time to leave your initial disgust behind and discover what this little creature can bring for your health.
An amazing scientific discovery
Scientists from the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in India looked at the female Pacific beetle cockroach, the only one of its kind that gives birth to live young. She produces milk to feed her babies in the form of protein-dense crystals.
When analyzing the milk, the scientists made an amazing discovery.
The cockroach milk turned out to be one of the most nutritious substances in the world – to give you an example, it is four times richer in nutrients than good old cow’s milk.
Scientists call it a “complete food”: the cockroach milk is packed with proteins, fats and sugars and includes all essential amino acids. It’s also time released, meaning that its crystals release more protein when being digested.
Is cockroach milk your new protein supplement?
Does this mean you have found the ideal protein supplement to complement your work-out? Not really, if you don’t want to put on too much weight. Cockroach milk is very high in calories — it contains three times more energy than buffalo milk, which is richer in calories than cow milk.
So cockroach milk may not be ideal — at least for the time being — in a Western diet as our daily calorie intake is already higher than required. But for countries suffering from food shortage, it may actually be an ideal supplement.
Will cockroach milk solve the world’s food crisis?
Is cockroach milk then the ideal solution for under-nutrition in the world? Not quite yet.
First, scientists are working to prove that the milk is actually safe for human consumption. Secondly, you would need to milk (too) many cockroaches before you have a sufficient amount in stock. Opening cockroach milk farms wouldn’t be very efficient. Therefore, scientists are working on genetically engineering yeast to produce the same protein crystals in large amounts. This avoids having to milk millions of cockroaches.
So keep an eye out…
If scientists manage to prove that the milk is safe, and if they can produce it on a larger scale, it could in fact be a part of the solution to under-nutrition in the world. Who would have ever thought that the creatures we despise could actually save lives?
Scientists also believe that, once certain conditions are met, the crystals could appear as a protein supplements in our western food too.
So keep an eye out at your local supermarket as cockroach milk may one day be the ultimate superfood…
The paper was published in the journal of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCrJ).
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