TL;DR – The next big thing.
What do chia seeds, quinoa and cockroaches have in common?
Apparently, they are all superfoods. And to be specific, we are looking at cockroach milk.
Firstly, what are superfoods exactly?
There’s no set criteria as to what defines a superfood but loosely, they are defined as nutrient-rich natural food that contain a large percentage of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and antioxidants. Some examples include goji berries, wheatgrass, green tea and oily fish.
And now, cockroach milk of course.
Scientists have sequenced a protein crystal located in the midgut of cockroaches and found it to be four times as nutritious as cow’s milk. They believe it could be the key to feeding our growing population in the future.
Clearly you can’t milk a cockroach the way you milk a cow, so researchers from the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in India decided to sequence the genes responsible for producing the milk protein crystals to see if they could somehow replicate them in the lab.
“The crystals are like a complete food – they have proteins, fats and sugars. If you look into the protein sequences, they have all the essential amino acids,” said Sanchari Banerjee, one of the team, in an interview with the Times of India.
Additionally, not only is the milk a dense source of calories and nutrients, it’s also time released.
As the protein in the milk is digested, the crystal releases more protein at an equivalent rate to continue the digestion.
“If you need food that is calorifically high, that is time released and food that is complete. This is it,” said Subramanian Ramaswamy, who led the project.