Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, foods like avocados, blueberries, and wheatgrass fall into a category known as superfoods. Now, health food enthusiasts are getting excited about a relatively new superfood that may be more nutritionally dense than any other: cockroach milk.
While a little hard to swallow, the unusual milk crystal produced by certain cockroaches has more essential protein and amino acids than just about any other superfood. According to a study of cockroach milk done in 2016, the substance is “like a complete food,” with nearly four times the protein found in ordinary cow’s milk.
While some health food fanatics may be tempted, trying to milk a common household cockroach will not produce any of this nourishing superfood. There is only one specific type that produces milk crystals: the Pacific Beetle cockroach.
Per a CBS News report, this particular cockroach gives birth to live young, unlike other species that lay eggs. The protein-infused milk produced by the female bug is used to feed the young roaches as they develop.
While cockroach milk is quickly becoming a superfood trend, it is not something you’ll find at the local health food store. However, that may change as forward-thinking entrepreneurs are figuring out products that might make cockroach milk actually sound appealing one day.
Touting the many health benefits of eating bugs, Gourmet Grubb has come up with a food product called Entomilk. While not specifically made from cockroach milk, the company’s website describes one product as “milk made from sustainably farmed insects.”
“Think of Entomilk as a sustainable, nature-friendly, nutritious, lactose-free, delicious, guilt-free dairy alternative of the future.”
Even if health food companies were to find a way to package and market cockroach milk in an attractive way, scientists are not even sure humans can consume it.
“We have no evidence that it is actually safe for human consumption,” said Subramanian Ramaswamy, the lead author of the 2016 study.
Until more research is done to determine the real, if any, health benefits of consuming cockroach milk, it is probably best to stick to superfoods that are easy to find and certainly more appealing. Despite being “among the most nutritious and highly caloric substances on the planet,” it is not likely you’ll be seeing the Pacific Beetle cockroach’s milk crystals showing up on the shelves in the neighborhood health food store anytime soon.