What is camel milk, ‘the next best thing in nutrition’?

What is camel milk? (Photo: Getty Images)

Alternative milk sources continue to push into the mainstream and now, enter camel milk, the milk substitute that some experts think might just be the next best thing in nutrition. 

“People are choosing not to consume cow’s milk due to food intolerances, including lactose intolerance, casein sensitivity, issues with whey, insulin resistance, or issues with autoimmune disease,” JJ Virgin, a board-certified nutrition expert, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “If you are looking for something that tastes more like cow dairy, enter camel milk.” 

Unlike the distinctive gamey-like taste of goat milk,  camel milk, Virgin says, has a smoother and saltier taste that can be both refreshing and filling. It’s also nutritious, with five times more vitamin C and 10 times more iron than cow’s milk. The nutritional profile of camel milk differs further, as the Camel Milk Association suggests that 1 cup of camel milk has 107 calories and 42 grams of fat (cow milk generally has 150 calories and 8 grams of fat).

But why does any of this matter, and should we really be pouring ourselves tall glasses of camel’s milk? If you have dairy intolerances or allergies, the answer is yes. As Virgin says, camel milk lacks the allergens (beta-lactoglobulin, the major whey protein, and A1 beta-casein) that are in cow’s milk. A 2015 study published the Electronic Physician  supports these findings and suggests that camel’s milk has a mineral-dense formula similar to breast milk, and contains antibodies that have been shown to reduce children’s allergic reactions.

There are disadvantages to camel’s milk worth considering.  Monica Auslander Moreno,  a nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition, says that many camel products are unpasteurized, which can cause major food-borne illness. If you do decide to give camel milk a try, she recommends making sure your product is always pasteurized. 

Camel’s milk is also very hard to find in the U.S. But if you are interested in camel’s milk, which is already a popular choice in the Middle East and Africa, it may be hitting the American mainstream very soon — demand is surging, and supply may be set to come next.

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