Physiologically, milk contains biocomponents that are highly protective against infections. In light of this, the AGR-149-Infectious Diseases group at the University of Cordoba’s Department of Animal Health is doing research that focuses on cow’s milk as a possible source of Covid-19 control. The results have been published, partially, in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.
This is possible due to “crossed immunity”, and there is already evidence of the protection it provides, explained one of the principal investigators, Mari Carmen Borge. “It has been shown that the immune cells that the vaccinated animal generates against bovine coronavirus are capable of controlling other coronaviruses as well, such as SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19”.
Antonio Arenas, principal investigator on the project, spoke of the similarity that exists between Bovine Coronavirus (BCoV) and SARS-CoV-2 to explain the effectiveness of this technique. “There are a number of highly conserved structures of the virus that are similar in both viruses. In fact, both belong to the genus Betacoronavirus. Thus, cow’s milk could have a total or partial blocking action against SARS-CoV-2”.
In this way, these bovine antibodies could neutralize the virus in people who are already infected, or help prevent the disease in those who have not been vaccinated, or who have been, but have not developed immunity.
Thus, the aim is to come up with a supplement that would boost the immune system through a dairy preparation with a high level of antibodies, helping the system control infection through different immune pathways.
The animals from which the milk is extracted have been previously vaccinated with commercial BCoV vaccines, thus generating high levels of antibodies. However, the time when milk is most effective is just after a birth: “then the level of immunoglobulin in the milk increases – what is called colostrum – but it has a certain duration,” Arenas added.
Now the scientific challenge is to be able to extend the colostrum period, and also to study how to always ensure the same level of antibodies in the final product. Plans call for it to be marketed in single-dose format as of September. “For this, we have to readjust the reproduction cycles of bovine farms in order to always maintain a set of animals with high antibodies”, the researcher explained.
This dairy preparation, which anyone can consume, has already been tested on more than 300 people. Amongst them, no serious Covid-19 process has been detected. As soon as it goes on the market an observational test will be carried out. In any case, it will not be harmful to health, and it could become a natural resource providing people with a certain level of immunity.
There are other technological challenges: herd management, hygiene processes, conservation, packaging, marketing, medical, etc., that make this a holistic and complex project.
Reference: Arenas A, Borge C, Carbonero A, Garcia-Bocanegra I, Cano-Terriza D, Caballero J, Arenas-Montes A. (2021) Bovine Coronavirus Immune Milk Against COVID-19. Front Immunol. DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.637152
The global production of sheep’s milk is one the rise, in the vast majority of cases used to produce cheese. However, a relatively large amount of milk is needed to produce it, so science is looking for ways to increase its yield; that is, to obtain more cheese using less milk.
Immersed in this task, a team from the Department of Animal Production at the University of Cordoba, led by Professor Ana Garzón, has collaborated with the University of Leon in the search for genetic parameters affecting the cheese production of milk from Churra sheep, one of the oldest and most rustic breeds on the Iberian Peninsula.
After analysing traits related to rennet and milk properties (pH, milk yield, fat and protein content) in a sample of more than 1,000 sheep, the research team found a low to moderate heritability of these traits, suggesting that their improvement can be achieved through genetic selection. In addition, the need to consider milk pH at the beginning of the coagulation process as a characteristic to be taken into accountas a selection index for the improvement of Churra quality was confirmed, as it will augment the ‘cheesemaking capacity’ of the milk from this breed.
The team,formed by Ana Garzón andthe researchers Antonio Figueroa and Javier Caballero-Villalobos, comprise the Dairy Laboratory, where the milk samples of this work were analysed, measuring their pH; the physical-chemical parameters of the milk, such as its proteins, fats, and lactose; and technological parameters, such as coagulation time and curd hardening speed; with the aim of providing information for the selection of values to be included in the genetic selection scheme of the Churra breed in order to obtain ewes that give milk with a higher yield in terms of cheese production.
The UCO Dairy Laboratory | The science that cares for milk
This service, part of the UCO’s Department of Animal Production, has been working since 2003 on the study of the composition, quality and technological parameters of ruminant milk with the aim of transferring knowledge to the livestock sector to improve milk quality, productivity and yields.
The Dairy Laboratory specialises in the study of the Manchega breed, which is the most important class of sheep in terms of product quality and economic weight in the sector. In this regard, the search for a faster, cheaper and more efficient method to measure the quality of milk according to its composition is one of their main lines of research, as they are trying to determine whether chromaticity can provide information sufficient for the livestock sector to evaluate milk quickly and cheaply.
They are also striving to solve the problem of water retention in curd, which reduces the milk’syield, thus requiring a lot of milk to obtain cheese. In their latest work, they develop mathematical models to achieve more efficient milk for cheese production. Finally, they analyse the correlation between the health of the sheep’s udder and these coagulation parameters of the milk slated for cheese production.
In short, this work directly transfers the science carried out in the Laboratory to the livestock sector, which benefits from improvements in the quality and efficiency of its dairy farms.
If you haven’t been the parent or caregiver of an infant in recent years, you’d be forgiven for missing the human milk oligosaccharide trend in infant formulas. These complex carbohydrate supplements mimic human breast milk and act like prebiotics, boosting beneficial microbes in babies’ guts.
Milk oligosaccharides aren’t just for humans, though; all mammals make them. And new University of Illinois research suggests milk oligosaccharides may be beneficial for cats and dogs when added to pet diets.
But before testing the compounds, scientists had to find them.
“When we first looked into this, there had only been one study on milk oligosaccharides in dogs, and none in domestic cats. The closest were really small studies on a single lion and a single clouded leopard,” says Kelly Swanson, the Kraft Heinz Company Endowed Professor in Human Nutrition in the Department of Animal Sciences and the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Illinois.
“Our study was the first robust characterization of dog and cat milk oligosaccharides,” he adds. “Our data not only provide a better understanding of how milk meets the nutritional needs of newborn kittens and puppies, but also how it helps promote gut immunity and establish a healthy gut microbial community early in life.” That research appears in the journal PLoS ONE.
The foundational study identified three predominant oligosaccharide structures in canine milk: 3’sialyllactose, 6’-sialyllactose, and 2’fucosyllactose, the same compound showing up in many infant formulas today. Together, these three structures made up more than 90% of the total oligosaccharides in canine milk.
Feline milk was much more complex and balanced, with approximately 15 structures making up 90% of total oligosaccharides. Of these, difucosyllactose-N-hexaose b, 3’-sialyllactose, and lacto-N-neohexaose represented more than 10% each.
“Even though domestic dogs and cats both evolved as carnivores, they are metabolically distinct in many ways. Although pet cats still exist as true carnivores, pet dogs are omnivorous in nature,” Swanson says. “These new milk oligosaccharide data highlight another interesting difference between the species, justifying further research to reveal their role in the nutritional and health status of newborn puppies and kittens.”
Even before Swanson and his colleagues identified the oligosaccharides in cat and dog milk, the pet food industry was beginning to recognize the potential benefits of these compounds as supplements in pet foods. In 2019, Swiss biotech company Gnubiotics Sciences announced an animal milk oligosaccharide-like product known as GNU100, but it hadn’t been tested in animals. Swanson’s team took that on.
In two separate studies, both published in the Journal of Animal Science, Swanson and his colleagues determined the safety, palatability, and digestibility of GNU100 in dogs and cats.
First, in vitro laboratory tests with cellular colonies showed no toxic effects or tendencies to cause cell mutation. There was no reason to expect toxicity, but the result satisfies one of the basic FDA requirements for inclusion of any new ingredient in pet foods.
Next, the researchers mixed GNU100 at 1% with a fat source and coated commercial dry diets for cats or dogs. As a control, fat-coated diets without GNU100 were also offered. When animals got to choose between the control and 1% bowls, they went crazy for the GNU100.
“In the cats, it was a huge preference. They ate nearly 18 times more food with GNU100 than the control food. We had just been hoping they wouldn’t reject it. You know, cats can be pretty finicky,” Swanson says. “When we got the data back it was like, wow, they really love that stuff! And the dogs did, too.”
Swanson explains GNU100 is composed of a complex mixture of oligosaccharides and peptides, small protein-containing compounds that may make the food more appetizing to cats and dogs.
Finally, the researchers included GNU100 in experimental diets at 0%, 0.5%, 1%, and 1.5% and fed them to healthy adult dogs and cats for six months. During that time, they measured stool quality, blood metabolites, and nutrient digestibility, and evaluated changes in gut metabolites and the gut microbial community.
Overall, cats and dogs did well with GNU100, with no adverse health effects. And the researchers saw shifts in the gut microbiome toward more beneficial species and their metabolite profiles.
Aside from the palatability test, changes associated with GNU100 were as expected, showing intriguing trends in gut microbiota and gut metabolites that Gnubiotics plans to explore in future studies. Swanson thinks they would have seen bigger benefits in a more targeted study focusing on newborn cats and dogs, geriatrics, or pets with compromised immune systems.
“Theoretically, these products should stabilize and feed good bacteria in the gutas well as limit the growth of potentially undesirable bacteria. So if an animal is undergoing treatment for something with antibiotics or is in a high stress situation, having that product in the diet might keep the gut from destabilizing,” Swanson says. “Another target group for these products might be young animals as a way to maintain beneficial bacteria in the gut as they wean off their mothers. We’d need to do more testing to see if the product holds up in those target groups, but at least we know now that it is safe and well tolerated.”
By using a more complex model for neutron scattering data, researchers can better understand the composition of materials such as milk.
Neutron scattering is a technique commonly used in physics and biology to understand the composition of complex multicomponent mixtures and is increasingly being used to study applied materials such as food. A new paper published in EPJ E by Gregory N Smith, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, shows an example of neutron scattering in the area of food science. Smith uses neutron scattering to better investigate casein micelles in milk, with the aim of developing an approach for future research.
Smith, also a researcher at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source in the UK, explains why better modelling of how neutrons are scattered by structures in colloid materials is important. “How well you can understand the structure of a system from scattering data depends on how good your model is, and the better and more realistic your model, the better your understanding,” the researcher says. “This is true for food as for any material. A better understanding of the structure of casein in milk can help better understand dairy products.”
Neutron scattering can be used to investigate fluids by swapping the water solvent within them with heavy water – water where hydrogen is replaced with deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen possessing a nucleus with a proton and a neutron rather than just a proton.
“I set out to see if the model that I had developed for casein micelles in milk could also be applied to existing neutron scattering data. The particular set of data that I looked at was extensive and had measurements from a large number of backgrounds, with different water to heavy water ratios,” Smith continues. “This meant that I would not only be able to see if the model worked with different measurements, which would support its wider application, but also meant that I would be able to better quantify the composition of milk.”
Smith further explains that he was pleased to see his model agreed well when compared with existing data, something that is not always guaranteed when testing out new models with scattering experiments. What surprised the researcher, however, was just how much scattering occurred even in skimmed milk with less fat droplets.
“Even common and everyday materials, such as food, have a complex structure on the nanoscale,” Smith concludes. “You might look at milk and just see a cloudy liquid, but inside there are proteins that self-assemble into colloids, proteins that are free in solution, large droplets of fat, and many other components as well.
“By using a technique like scattering to study such a system, you can get beneficial information about all these constituents.”
References: G.N. Smith (2021) An Alternative Analysis of Contrast-variation Neutron Scattering Data of Casein Micelles in Semi-deuterated Milk, Eur. Phys. J. E 44:5. https://doi.org/ 10.1140/epje/s10189-021-00023-y
A new study published in Nutrition Research has found that children born to a mother with low intake of Vitamin B12 during pregnancy were at increased risk of adverse development specific to certain speech and mathematical abilities.
Information on details of the diets of almost 14,000 pregnant women was collected by the Children of the 90s study (also known as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children or ALSPAC), based in Bristol, UK. Their children have been followed over the years and their abilities tested at various time points. A publication in the journal Nutrition Research reports on the results of comparing the children born to women who were eating a diet relatively low in vitamin B12 with children whose mothers ate a diet higher in the vitamin.
Professor Golding explained: “Many nutrients in pregnancy have beneficial effects on the brain of the unborn child, with resulting improved childhood abilities in regard to intelligence and educational abilities. However, it is unclear whether vitamin B12 has a similar effect.
“Vitamin B12 is found in foods such as meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk and some fortified breakfast cereals. For vegans and vegetarians, Marmite is a rich source of vitamin B12 and other B vitamins.”
Researchers compared 29 different test results of which 26 were shown to differ with levels of vitamin B12, a far higher amount than would have been expected.
However, the mothers who had a diet low in vitamin B12 differed from the rest of the population in 9 different independent features. Once these factors had been taken into account there were no residual effects with social class or any other socioeconomic measure. These nine variables were all taken into account when assessing the possible effects of the mother’s diets during pregnancy on her offspring’s abilities.
Whilst many of the differences such as reading and spelling abilities, as well as aspects of IQ could be explained by other background factors, there were 6 associations which could not be explained away. These indicated that the children born to women with the lowest intake of vitamin B12 were at increased risk of poor vocabulary at 24 months, reduced ability at combining words at 38 months, poor speech intelligibility at 6 years, poor mathematics comprehension at school years 4 and 6 (ages 8-9 and 10-11 years), and poor results on the national mathematics tests (age 13). There were no significant associations with mental arithmetic, indicating that the mathematics results were specific to a reasoning component rather than computational abilities.
The numbers involved in these results were as follows: 24 month vocabulary (n=9140); combining words at 38 months (n=8833), poor speech intelligibility at 6 years (n=7647), poor mathematics comprehension at school years 4 and 6 (ages 8-9 (n=4093) and 10-11 years (n=6142), and poor results on the national mathematics tests (age 13 (n=8215).
Professor Golding continued: “We concluded that if a pregnant woman has a low intake of vitamin B12, there may be adverse effects on the child’s neurocognitive development specific to certain speech and mathematical abilities. These results are intriguing but need to be confirmed in other longitudinal studies. Meanwhile it continues to be appropriate to recommend a varied diet for all pregnant women, and for those eating few or no animal products, inclusion of fortified foods and/or yeast extract should be promoted.”
Children of mothers who drink relatively more cow’s milk during breastfeeding are at reduced risk of developing food allergies. That is the conclusion of researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, in a new study published in the scientific journal Nutrients.
The result is based on a survey of more than 500 Swedish women’s eating habits and the prevalence of allergies in their children at one year of age.
“We have found that mothers of healthy one-year-olds consumed more cow’s milk during breastfeeding than mothers of allergic one-year-olds. Though the association is clear, we do not claim that drinking cow’s milk would be a general cure for food allergies.” says Mia Stråvik, doctoral student in the Division of Food Science at Chalmers University of Technology, and first author of the study.
There are many factors behind the risk of food allergy, not least genetic predisposition. Yet, as Mia Stråvik explains, “Diet is a factor where parents themselves can have direct influence. It is quite common nowadays for young women to avoid drinking milk, due in part to prevailing trends and concerns, some of which are linked to myths about diet.”
She points out that allergy to milk protein is uncommon in adults, so most women can consume milk and dairy products themselves without issue. Lactose intolerance is something completely different, when the body cannot break down milk sugars. And in this case, lactose-free dairy products are tolerated by the body.
The hygiene hypothesis
According to Professor Ann-Sofie Sandberg, Mia Stråvik’s supervisor, one possible explanation may be that the milk in the mother’s diet contains substances that stimulate the maturity of the immune system.
“In a child’s early development, there is a time window where stimulation of the immune system is necessary for the child to develop tolerance to different foods.”
According to something known as the hygiene hypothesis, early contact with various microorganisms can function as something of a kickstart’ for a child’s immune system, she explains.
“But, with the lower prevalence of microorganisms nowadays in our more hygienic society, substances taken in through the mother’s diet can be another way to stimulate the maturity of the immune system.”
Mia Stråvik’s study is not the first to link cow’s milk in a mother’s diet to a reduced risk of allergies in children. Previous studies, however, have often been based solely on questionnaire responses – both in terms of eating habits and the presence of allergies. In this study both data and conclusions are significantly more robust.
“In this study, we were able to actually verify the women’s reported intake of milk and milk products through biomarkers in her blood and breast milk. The biomarkers are two fatty acids formed in the cow’s stomach, which are specific to dairy products,” says Mia Stråvik. “Furthermore, all the cases of allergy in children were diagnosed by a doctor specialising in child allergies.”
The study is part of a more extensive research project built around a family cohort study of 655 families who gave birth at Sunderby Hospital near Luleå, northern Sweden, during the years 2015 – 2018. The project was initiated, and the cohort established, by Ann-Sofie Sandberg from Chalmers, Professor Agnes Wold at the University of Gothenburg and the chief physician and paediatric allergist Anna Sandin, affiliated with Umeå University and Sunderby Hospital.
The current study is the first scientific publication, focusing mainly on allergies based on data collected from the families in northern Sweden.
A clear connection
The mothers in the study, more than 500, gave detailed accounts of their eating habits on three occasions – in the 34th week of the pregnancy, one month after the birth and four months after birth. At one year of age, the children were medically examined, and all cases of food allergy, atopic eczema and asthma were identified.
After the material was adjusted for various other factors, such as hereditary predisposition or reverse causation, the researchers were able to establish that there was indeed a clear connection between the mother’s intake of milk and dairy products and the smaller incidence of food allergy in their children.
“No matter how we looked at and interpreted the data, we came to the same conclusion,” states Chalmers researcher and co-author Malin Barman, Assistant Supervisor to Mia Stråvik.”The mechanisms behind why milk has this preventative effect against allergies, however, are still unclear.” A further explanation of various hypotheses can be found below.
Another result in the study that Mia Stråvik highlights is that children of breastfeeding mothers, who at the four month measurement were eating a lot of fruit and berries, tended to suffer from eczema to a much greater extent – though she stresses that further studies are needed before anything can be said with certainty about this connection.
A follow-up study is currently underway to examine the children’s health at the age of four.
Read the article in the scientific journal Nutrients:
Allergy is the most common chronic disease that affects children, and is becoming ever more prevalent in Sweden and other industrialised countries.
Of the 508 children included in the current study:
7.7 percent of the children (39) had a diagnosed food allergy at one year of age, most commonly to cow’s milk or eggs (or both)
6.5 percent of the children (33) were diagnosed with atopic eczema and the same amount were diagnosed with asthma
23 percent of the children had allergies of some type (including non-food-based) at the age of one year
How does milk cause these effects?
It is unclear exactly why cow’s milk in the mother’s diet can reduce the risk of child allergy. According to researcher Malin Barman, there are several possible explanations, that could potentially work together.
“One hypothesis is that cow’s milk contains something that activates the child’s immune system and helps it to develop tolerance. This as-yet unknown cause could be found in the fat of the milk or in its protein content. But it could also be the case that the milk itself is neutral in relation to the immune system. Then it might be more simply a matter of a higher intake of milk fats leading to a relatively lower intake of polyunsaturated fats. This would help, because we believe high levels of polyunsaturated fat in a mother’s diet can counteract the maturation of a child’s immune system at an early age.”
More about: The funding of this research
This research was funded by the Swedish Research Council, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Forte), Västra Götaland Region, Region Norrbotten, Magnus Bergvalls stiftelse, Wilhelm och Martina Lundgrens stiftelse, Per Håkanssons stiftelse, Stiftelsen Sigurd och Elsa Goljes Minne, The Royal Society of Arts and Sciences in Gothenburg and Jane och Dan Olssons stiftelse. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results. The authors declare no conflict of interest.
More about: the NICE project
The 655 families participating in the NICE cohort (Nutritional impact on Immunological maturation during Childhood in relation to the Environment) were recruited during the years 2015–2018 in connection with pregnant women visiting Sunderby Hospital in northern Sweden.
The aim is to map how a number of factors in the nutritional intake of the foetus and infant affect their immune system and, in the long run, their health and development.
In addition to the connection between food and allergies, which is the Chalmers researchers’ special area of responsibility, researchers are also looking at microorganisms and toxic substances and their significance for such things as dental health and neuropsychological development.
To this end, the researchers have built up an extensive biobank with samples from the participants – everything from placentas and umbilical cord blood to breast milk, urine and saliva.
Alongside Chalmers University of Technology, Umeå University, Karolinska Institutet and the University of Gothenburg are also participating in studies based on the NICE cohort – a total of around 30 researchers are involved.
References: Stråvik, M.; Barman, M.; Hesselmar, B.; Sandin, A.; Wold, A.E.; Sandberg, A.-S. Maternal Intake of Cow’s Milk during Lactation Is Associated with Lower Prevalence of Food Allergy in Offspring. Nutrients 2020, 12, 3680. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/12/3680/htm
What do you think of when you think of almond milk? Maybe you envision vegans ordering dairy-free lattes at Starbucks, or something the lactose intolerant pour on their cereal. Either way, it’s a pretty recent invention, right? Wrong: Almond milk has been around since at least the 12th century when it was a staple of the medieval diet.
Like so many facets of life in Europe of the Middle Ages, the popularity of almond milk can be attributed to religious demands. Much of the medieval Christian diet was restricted by the church, most notably on fish days. Those were days when you weren’t allowed to consume meat — or, notably, any product of a warm-blooded animal. The best-known fish days occur during Lent, but many modern Christians continue to observe this tradition at various points throughout the year (incidentally, it’s also where Friday fish fries come from, not to mention the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish).
It’s pretty easy to see how almond milk would fit into that context. If it’s one of those days that you’re not allowed to pour cow’s milk on your medieval Froot Loops, then a substitute made from Bible-friendly nuts (okay, drupes) would be more than welcome. Then there are the medical benefits. Medieval doctors noted the healing properties of almonds. Specifically, they thought the little nuts were particularly good for the brains of young scholars. So that explains why cookbooks and medical texts going back to the 12th century prominently feature almond milk recipes. But it doesn’t explain how the stuff got so popular with the upper crust.
The more you look at recipes from the period, the more you find items like blancmanger, a kind of pudding made with almond milk, stewed chicken, and lots of sugar. Almond milk or no, that’s one meal that’s not going to fly on Lent. In reality, almond milk probably became a favorite ingredient of the upper classes because it was expensive and exotic. Plus, it takes on coloring quite well, and medieval Gordon Ramsays loved to liven up their meals by mixing in coloring agents like violets, beets, and cornflowers. That all adds up to a must-have ingredient for any fancy 14th-century pantry.
Researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) have developed a method perform direct ink writing (DIW) three-dimensional (3D) printing of milk products at room temperature by changing the rheological properties of the printing ink.
3-D printing of food has been achieved by different printing methods, including the widely used selective laser sintering (SLS) and hot-melt extrusion methods. However, these methods are not always compatible with temperature-sensitive nutrients found in certain types of food. For instance, milk is rich in both calcium and protein, but as these nutrients are temperature sensitive, milk is unsuitable for 3-D printing using the aforementioned printing methods which require high temperature. While the cold-extrusion is a viable alternative, it often requires rheology modifiers or additives to stabilize printed structures. Optimizing these additives is a complex and judicious task.
To tackle these limitations, the research team from SUTD’s Soft Fluidics Lab changed the rheological properties of the printing ink and demonstrated DIW 3-D printing of milk (refer to image) by cold-extrusion with a single milk product—powdered milk. The team found that the concentration of milk powder allowed for the simple formulation of 3-D-printable milk inks using water to control the rheology. Extensive characterizations of the formulated milk ink were also conducted to analyze their rheological properties and ensure optimal printability.
Given the versatility of the demonstrated method, they envision that cold extrusion of food inks will be applied in creating nutritious and visually appealing food, with potential applications in formulating foods with various needs for nutrition and materials properties, where food inks could be extruded at room temperature without compromising the nutrients that would be degraded at elevated temperatures.
Meditation has been proven to positively affect hypertension, anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and more in people. But new research suggests that meditating can affect the very makeup of your DNA. A recent study held by a Canadian research team looked at different groups of distressed breast cancer patients. Each group went through varying amounts of group therapy, yoga, and meditation sessions. The groups that went through yoga, meditative mindfulness practices, and group therapy had their telomeres in tact. Telomeres are stretches of DNA that act as caps on our chromosomes, and help prevent deterioration of chromosomes. Shortened telomeres are not likened to any specific disease, but we do know that they shorten with age.
2) IS COCKROACH MILK THE NEXT GREAT SUPERFOOD?
Imagine drinking a glass of cold, refreshing milk… except that milk came from a cockroach. It’s a situation that seems more outlandish than it really is. Scientists have identified cockroach milk as a potential “superfood.”
Not all cockroaches produce milk, but the Diploptera punctata cockroach does, as it is one of the few insects that gives birth to live young. In the mid-gut of this particular type of cockroach, there are protein crystals that are about four times more nutritious than cow’s milk. If milking a cockroach seems ridiculous, it’s because it would be. Instead, an international team of researchers is looking into sequencing the genes that create this milk protein crystal in labs. “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,” one of the researchers, Sanchari Banerjee, told the Times of India.
3) EAT FRUITS AND VEGGIES TO BOOST YOUR HAPPINESS
It’s common knowledge that fruits and vegetables are vital parts of a nutritious diet. Recent research shows strong evidence that eating fruits and veggies provides even more positive benefits than just for your physical health. Reported in July 2016, researchers at the University of Warwick found evidence that eating fruits and vegetables is associated with a substantial increase in happiness levels. In the study, happiness increased for each extra daily portion of fruit and vegetables up to eight portions per day. This was one of the first major scientific attempts to look at the link between eating fruits and vegetables and positive psychological effects. Some researchers believe there is a link between optimism and blood levels of carotenoid, which is present in many fruits and vegetables, although more research is needed.
4) WHY MAYONNAISE PROBABLY WONT GIVE YOU FOOD POISONING?
Everybody knows not to eat potato salad left out after a picnic or a mayo-slathered sandwich that’s been in a lunch bag too long. And while these foods certainly have the potential to make you sick, the mayonnaise they contain is almost guaranteed not to be the reason.
At its most basic, mayonnaise is a combination of oil, egg yolks, and vinegar or lemon juice. Those last two ingredients are the key to why claims that mayo causes food poisoning are almost entirely unfounded: the condiment’s high acid content protects it against spoiling. Indeed, multiple studies in the Journal of Food Protection have found that mayonnaise actually decreases the growth of bacteria like salmonella and staphyloccus, which means adding mayonnaise to food will in fact reduce the risk that the other ingredients could make you sick.
5) VITAMIN C DOESN’T PREVENT COLDS. WHY DO WE THINK IT DOES?
When you feel a cold coming on, it can seem that recommendations to take lots of vitamin C are everywhere you turn. And while popping vitamin C pills and gulping vitamin-C-rich beverages probably won’t do you harm, it won’t do you much good either. That’s because study after study has shown that vitamin C is ineffective in preventing, treating, or even speeding recovery of the common cold. The science is so conclusive, in fact, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the American Medical Association, and the American Dietetic Association don’t recommend its use for cold treatment or prevention.
But if vitamin C doesn’t do anything to colds, why do we think it does? That’s all thanks to a scientist named, Linus Pauling. Though Pauling won two Nobel Prizes in his lifetime—one for a discovery about chemical bonds, another for his work in opposition of nuclear war—his scientific interests became somewhat bizarre when he reached his mid-60s. When he took the advice of an untrained yet self-proclaimed doctor to take 50 times the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C per day in order to prolong his life, Pauling recalled, “The severe colds I had suffered several times a year all my life no longer occurred. After a few years, I increased my intake of vitamin C to ten times, then twenty times, then three hundred times the RDA: now 18,000 milligrams per day.” He wrote a book urging others to do the same, and in response, 50 million Americans were taking his advice by the mid-1970s—despite the many scientific studies proving him wrong.