Believe it or not, there's a growing interest for milk from the desert's most self-sufficient creature, the camel. Why, you ask? Apparently, according to nutritionists and researchers, the reasons range from its potential to promote optimum nutrition to its ability to healing autism, diabetes, gut problems, and even cancer.
Camel milk is indeed a rich source of protein. It's also considered a "whole food," which means it has enough natural nutrients to sustain life in the absence of other resources. And it's got higher levels of potassium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, sodium, and zinc than cow's milk-plus low levels of cholesterol. It's also got three times the amount of vitamin C and 10 times as much iron compared to cow's milk. If that's not convincing enough, it is so nutritious, in many countries it's given to babies suffering from malnutrition.
Julie Matthews, a California-based nutritionist for children with autism, believes its healing properties go well beyond that. She explains on her website, "As I began to research it for myself, I heard from autism parents who told me that camel milk has helped their children tremendously, with no adverse reactions to this dairy.... I think it may actually be at helping recover kids with autism-and many others with gut issues, immune system challenges, nutrient deficiencies, and more!"
According to Matthews' research, beyond healing food allergies and gut problems, the milk also has viral and bacterial fighting abilities, helps heal people with autoimmune conditions, and contains insulin, which is effective in diabetes.
Bernard Faye of the France-based research organization CIRAD (center for international cooperation in agronomic research for development) has been researching the claims. In a New Agriculturist article he explains, "From the Rift Valley of Africa to Central Asia you often hear it said that camel milk can cure diabetes, tuberculosis, stomach ulcers...cancer." The article goes on to say, "There appears to be some scientific basis for some of the claimed cures, but that the experimental design has not always been sound."
Still, the potential has sparked a growing industry of camel dairy farmers here in the U.S., though the cost to experiment is not yet easy on the wallet. 20 pints, which can be frozen and thawed when needed, from The Camel Milk Association will cost you $220 plus $50 shipping.
So now we wonder: Would you buy it?
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