The next time you see a cockroach in the kitchen, give the thing a chance, because according to a recent study, cockroach milk can be an incredible source of protein, providing you with solid health benefits. A team of scientists, headed by researchers from the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in Bengaluru, concluded their study and revealed a whole new possibility of feeding future populations. Believe it or not, cockroach milk, produced by Diploptera punctata, a type of cockroach that pumps out milk containing protein, is more than four times more nutritious than cow’s milk. This also means that a single protein crystal contains about three times the amount of energy that is usually found in buffalo milk.

“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 to TOI, who is one of the authors of the paper, which was published in the journal from the International Union of Crystallography, in July.

A rich source of nutrients and calories, cockroach milk is also “time released” according to Ramaswamy, which means, “if you need food that is calorifically high, that is time released and food that is complete, this is it”. The dense protein would serve as an apt source of nutrition for those who wish to consume the optimum amount of calories in a day.

But Ramaswamy admits to the Washington Post that the flavour of cockroach “doesn’t taste like anything special” and he had once lost a dare to a colleague where the latter ate “a sprinkling of the crystals”. Now, Ramaswamy and his colleagues plan to use a yeast system to produce these crystals, since cockroaches lack nipples and cannot be milked in the usual way (and thank goodness for that).

Like we said, the next time you’re creeped out by that cockroach in your kitchen, think twice before squashing it.