Cockroach milk anyone? It may be the next big superfood
Cochroach milk anyone?
Health freaks will go to extreme lengths in the name of nutrients (and staying one step ahead of the trend). However, the latest “superfood” is just plain gross.
Cockroach milk is comprised of the nutrient-rich milk crystals found inside the Pacific Beetle cockroach. This species uses said protein crystals as food for cockroach infants, but new research suggests that it could be beneficial to humans, too, as it’s one of the most nourishing and highly caloric substances on the planet. It boasts four times as much protein as cow’s milk, but also contains essential amino acids that promote cell growth, lipids that keep our bodies healthy, and sugars that fuel energy.
The insect milk may
also have beauty
“The levels of growth hormone in this particular liquid are unknown, and there is evidence that shows that growth hormones may exacerbate acne in certain individuals,” Rachel Nazarian, M.D. at Schweiger Dermatology Group explains. “The high levels of sugar may also make it a poor choice in terms of skin health and beauty, as we know that high-sugar diets actually accelerate skin aging.”
“Protein and fat are vital components of good hair and nails, and this particular liquid may make getting optimal levels of both things much easier,” Dr. Nazarian adds.
Why cockroach milk is being hailed as the next big superfood
Insects have long been touted as a high-protein, low-fat and better-for-the-environment alternative to meat, with the introduction of cricket-based protein powders and mealworm energy bars; while in some countries insects are already considered a delicacy. But the latest health food trend might make even the most adventurous foodies squirm.
There’s a new-found hype around cockroach milk (who knew they even produced milk?) and it’s being dubbed a ‘superfood’.
It turns out a specific breed of the bug is filled with an energy-rich, milk-like substance. Initially produced as a liquid, the ‘milk’ crystallizes in the gut, before being used by the cockroach to feed their young.
What’s the health hype?
It was back in 2016 that a research team at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in India said the ‘milk’ from a type of cockroach on Pacific Islands like Hawaii, which give birth to live young instead of laying eggs, was found to have great nutritional value to humans.
Dr Sanchari Banerjee, the author of the study, told the Times of India: “The crystals are like a complete food – they have proteins, fats and sugars.” They’re also packed with amino acids which are said to release nutrients gradually after they’re digested. The study found it to be far healthier than cow’s milk.
Can we buy it now?
No, but there are companies developing the milk alternative for human consumption. South African based Gourmet Grubb already make ice cream from ‘entomilk’, milk made from a variety of insects.
There are three flavours: peanut butter, chocolate and chai, and they say it’s high in protein and good fats, lactose-free, as well as being delicious and far more sustainable than cow’s milk production.
So it might not be long before health food fanatics are pouring cockroach milk into their tea or popping a food supplement pill packed with the nutritional benefits from the substance the bugs feed their young.
But there are a few major hurdles to cross first; namely how to farm this specific breed of cockroaches on a mass scale, because as Goop point out, the process of milking a cockroach is “precise and laborious”, and how to get people over the thought of drinking a milk from bugs.