What are the health benefits of camel milk, can you buy it from Asda and does it help children with autism?
CAMEL milk is the latest food trend – and even Asda are jumping on the bandwagon.
The supermarket was the first major chain to start stocking the creamy dairy product, which has been a staple of North African cuisine for centuries.
Here we look at why it’s popular, and why some people think it’s good for people with autism.
Camels have been used to help humans for centuries – now they’re finding a new role What is camel milk and where does it come from?
Like all mammals, camels produce milk for their babies, and it is this milk that is taken from them and packaged up to be sold for humans to drink.
Humans are the only mammal that drinks milk from other species, including camels.
Unlike more ‘normal’ types of dairy, there are no camel farms in the UK, with the milk being imported either from the Middle East or farms in Europe, where there is also growing demand for the unusual liquid.
This brand of camel milk is available in Asda, and is produced by the Sheikh of Dubai What does camel milk taste like, and what are the benefits?
Camel’s milk is slightly saltier than normal cow milk.
According to the Camelicious website, it’s also much healthier, with it being around 50 percent lower in fat than cow’s milk and “rich in natural vitamin C”.
Kim Kardashian tried camel milk while in the Middle East, and claimed that she liked it.
Camel milk is the new big trend – but it’s been a dietary staple in North Africa for years Why do people say camel milk is good for children with autism?
There is no scientific evidence to prove that camel milk helps autistic children or lessens their symptoms.
However, there is a lot of talk on alternative medicine blogs that claim that certain foods can make symptoms worse due to “indigestible components” affecting the brain.
These foods are ” gluten wheat, barley, rye, oats, casein cow’s milk products and salicylates are found in apples, berries, cucumbers, grapes, nectarines, oranges, peaches, plums, prunes, raisins, tangerines, and tomatoes”.
As there is no casein in camel’s milk, it is seen as a good food for autistic children.
What other ailments does Camel milk help?
It is claimed that camel milk can solve all sorts of medical issues.
While there is no scientific evidence to support these claims, advocates say it is able to cure of benefits people suffering from “diabetes, tuberculosis, stomach ulcers, gastroenteritis, cancer, allergies, infections, parasites, autism, even AIDS”.
There are camel farms all over the Middle East and a handful in Europe How is camel milk produced?
At present, there are no factory farms for camels set up in Europe – unlike in the Middle East.
There are 12,000 cows for every one camel in Europe – and the gentle creatures’ pregnancies last 13-14 months, which also makes taking their milk a longer process.
Cows tend to have a nine-month gestational cycle – like humans.
Most camel dairies have between two and twenty camels, and each one can give around five litres of milk a day.
Why is camel milk so expensive?
According to the Grocer, the Camelicious brand is owned by the ruler of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and is already on sale in 144 Asda shops, with a 235-milliliter cartons available for £2.85.
That’s pretty pricey though – 235 milliliters work out at less than half a pint.
You can pick up a 6-pint semi-skinned carton for just £1.48 – more than a £1 cheaper.
A camel is milked by hand in the desert – but there are more intensive methods also in use Is it suitable for people who are lactose intolerant?
Camel milk fans claim that the creamy liquid is suitable for people with lactose intolerances or dairy allergies as it doesn’t contain one of the proteins that can cause people to fall unwell.
The milk doesn’t contain beta-lactoglobulin – the protein, found in cow’s milk that causes allergic reactions.
Are there any controversies about camel milk?
PETA’s Director of International Programmes, Mimi Bekhechi, told Plant Based News that camel farming – just like dairy farming – goes against nature.
She said: “Nature never intended for humans to drink the mammary secretions of other animals – and just as human mothers’ milk is meant for baby humans and cows’ milk is intended for baby cows, camels’ milk is designed to feed baby camels,
“Like all animals, camels have to be impregnated and give birth for their bodies to produce milk, but the dairy industry tears babies away from their mothers shortly after birth in order to steal and sell the milk nature intended for those infants.