It used to be that buying a box of dried insects was something you did when you were playing a practical joke on someone and wanted to see them squirm. Now, in a strange twist of fate we are finding out that these tiny little creatures are actually one of the best food sources you can consume from a nutritional standpoint.
Admittedly, the idea of putting a bug in your mouth and crunching on its shell, legs, and other body parts generally makes people want to gag. However, eating grasshoppers, crickets, and other small insects is also something that people in other areas of the world have been doing all along.
Global insect consumption
According to Wageningen University in the Netherlands, roughly 1900 different insect species are consumed globally (1). On their list of edible insects being eaten on a daily basis are jewel beetles, black grasshoppers, huntsman spiders, and more (2).
Not quite convinced to join this trend and start noshing on the bugs that you find under your landscape and in your garden? Well, you might be once you realize all of the health benefits this particular food source has to offer.
The health benefits of insects
Perhaps the best known reason to eat insects is because they are a good protein source (something you hear about frequently if you watch survival-based television shows like Discovery channel’s Naked and Afraid). However, new research confirms that there are also additional benefits of insect consumption thanks to the lipids their little bodies contain.
Video: Cooking with the Bug Chef
Lipids provide two very valuable resources to the human body—energy and essential fatty acids. Energy is necessary for you to get through your day without feeling fatigued, and essential fatty acids help your body’s tissues and organs function optimally.
One recent study published in Food Research International found that, out of four different insects, the mealworm had the highest lipid content (roughly 13%) (3), which makes this the one insect that you might want to consume if you’re ready. Plus, a complementary study previously published in PLOS One also suggests that this specific insect is best when consumed in larval form (4), so you might want to keep that in mind as well.
Insects with the highest nutritional value
If you’re looking for other bugs that can help increase your health, there are a few. According to data provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), raw green weaver ants from Australia provide some of the highest amounts of energy (1,272 kcal/100 g fresh weight), with other top scorers being Australian plague locusts (499 kcal) and adult termites found on the Ivory Coast in Africa (535 kcal) (5).
So, what do you say? Are you ready to put insects on your plate for dinner? You just might feel better if you do!
Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. SUBSCRIBE here to get more from Raw Michelle!