It is no coincidence that more than 2 billion people around the world eat insects on a daily basis, they are the most powerful superfood out there. Insects are tasty and they have remarkable nutritional value. Here are the 4 most significant reasons you should be eating insects for your health.
1. Protein rich
Insect are packed with protein and contain all nine essential amino acids. This qualifies insects to be a complete protein source like meat. We all need amino acids to build proteins, which is used to build muscles, tissue and cells. Scientists have discovered over 50 different amino acids, but only 20 of them make proteins in the human body. Nine of these 20 amino acids we have to get from our food. Edible insects are rich in essential amino acids, sometimes with more gram for gram protein than beef. Nuts and beans are also good sources of protein, but they are not a complete protein. Vegans and vegetarians also need the nine essential amino acids, so opposed to taking supplements, eating insects might be a solution.
2. Excellent source of vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are important in order to maintain the balance and different functions in our body, such as strengthening the immune system and developing the brain. Most edible insects are rich in vitamins and minerals and especially have high levels of the B vitamins. Mealworms and crickets are among the best vitamin B12 sources, an important vitamin for developing new red blood cells and preventing dementia. As you may be aware of, the nutrient B12 can only be found in animal sources. Vitamin B12 is only available through animal protein sources. Vegans could therefore manage their B12 intake by eating a few crickets a couple of times a week. When it comes to minerals, edible insects are considered to be particularly rich in iron, zinc and calcium. In fact, some grasshoppers have over 6 times the amount of iron as beef, a mineral that women in particular often lack.
3. High in healthy fats
Insects are in general very high in essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 and Omega-6. Compared to meat insects have far higher values of especially Omega-6. There is often a twisted understanding of eating fats. Everyone needs fat, but it is important to get the right types of fats. Insects contain a lot of good and important fats that you also find in fish. Omega fatty acids are necessary and good for your heart, brain and joints. Insects are low in saturated fats compared to meat, which are fats you should avoid.
4. Insects are highly unlikely to make us sick
Compared to cattle, pigs and chicken that have on several occasions spread diseases to humans, such as mad cow disease, H5N1 and salmonella, insects are much less likely to transmit diseases to humans. Research suggests that this is because insects are taxonomically distant from humans compared to mammals.