5 Nutritional Facts About Entomophagy
Would you mind a snack made of an insect?
You probably wouldn’t even picture yourself doing it but we will be telling you why should. For starters, this is what is otherwise known as entomophagy, which is basically a Greek word to mean humans using insects as food. These include eating parts on insects such as eggs, larvae, pupae and full-grown insects. I can visualize the disgust on your face already, but insects are highly nutritious. Believe me, there are over 1000 species of insects that can be eaten in the world. Yes, and it is not only Bear Grylls who loves snacking on insects!
Traditionally, insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, and termites among others are commonly eaten and the practice is getting accepted worldwide, although some communities still hold their reservations. However, entomophagy is a better source of protein than meat. How? Well, hold on as we will be telling some cool nutritional facts about entomophagy
What are the nutritional facts about Entomophagy?
Insects have a diverse nutritional value since there are multiple species to choose from. Scientific research has shown that the nutritional composition of insects is higher than those of other species.
Here are some of the interesting nutritional facts that should make you change your perception of entomophagy.
Insects contain a complete/whole protein
Proteins are essential in providing the required structure, function, and regulation of body organs and tissues. In other words, you need a supply of protein for growth and maintenance.
Now, insects provide complete/whole and a good amount of protein compared to other food product such as chicken, meat or soybeans. A complete protein basically refers to a food source that contains all the nine essential amino acids in appropriate proportions.
This means that eating crickets, mealworm and palm weevil larvae is far much healthier than eating chicken or animal meat. You are also bound to get more useful proteins from insects compared to single-source proteins from cheese, eggs, milk, yoghurt etc.
Insects are definitely a better source of protein because it has less fat and cholesterol compared to other food-source of proteins such as meat. Bee brood which is made up of pupae and larva, for example, is high in protein and carbohydrates plus it has other vital minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Other insects that provide the best protein include the likes of beetles, butterflies, dragonflies, homopterans, hemipterans among others.
They contain Dietary fibre
Edible insects are also rich in fibre. Fibre is important in the human body as its major function is to control blood sugar levels thus it reduces the risk of diabetes. Moreover, entomophagy provides insoluble chitin, which is an undigested fibre that is vital in the body’s defense against viral, parasitical infections and allergies. Some of the insects that are rich in fibre include pupa of the silkworm, bee brood, caterpillar of Wax moth and Jamaican field cricket.
Insects provide Unsaturated fat and low-fat content
While many people are afraid of taking too much fat, Entomophagy provides good fat that is needed for a healthy balanced diet. First and foremost, fats are vital since they provide the body with the energy and nutrients that are needed for the key functioning of the body. Unsaturated fat is what helps the body to maintain cholesterol at a desirable level. They are what in layman's language is called ‘good' fat. It is found in high amounts in insects including their larvae. Saturated fat, on the other hand, is found in full fat which includes dairy and meat products.
By substituting saturated fat with unsaturated fat found in eating insects, you will be lowering LDL-cholesterol in your body. This is good for your heart because high levels of cholesterol may lead to heart-related diseases. Some of the insects that are good for this include the pupa of a silkworm, bee brood, nymph of the African Locust, the caterpillar of Wax moth and Larva of Yellow and Giant mealworm.
They provide essential minerals
Minerals and vitamins perform hundreds of functions in the body including enabling the body to grow and develop, nerve transmission and even maintaining a normal rate of heartbeat.
Well, you can actually get minerals like potassium, sodium, zinc, phosphorous, copper, manganese and iron by consuming some insects. Some of the notable ones in this domain are caterpillar of a moth, grasshopper, and larvae of palm weevils.
Edible Insects provide essential vitamins
Vitamins are also essential in nutrition because they prevent and treat various conditions such as eye, skin and heart conditions plus it reduces high cholesterol levels. There are different groups of vitamins such as Vitamin A, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, Vitamin C, D, E and K with each playing its role in the body. Vitamin K will, for instance, facilitate blood clotting hence reducing bleeding.
Most of these vitamins are actually found in insects which often contain water-soluble vitamins. Some of the water-soluble vitamins you can get by eating insects include Vitamin C and B which are found in beetle larvae and adult house crickets.
Insects also have Vitamin A or Retinol, which is used as a dietary supplement, to treat and prevent vitamin deficiency. Butterfly caterpillars, Yellow mealworms, and crickets are some of the insects that are rich in Vitamin A.
Furthermore, the larvae of red palm weevil contain Vitamin E, whose function is protecting the body tissues from damage.
If you have never thought of practicing entomophagy then now you have a reason to try. If you squeal at the thought of munching on insects, do not worry because you can consume it in different ways. To make it more appealing, you can dry and grind these insects and consume in powdery form. Alternatively, you can also use them in baking such as in bread and protein bars. Moreover, you can convert to mint cricket cookies, chocolates or lay food with a thin crispy size.
As a word of caution though, ensure that you only eat edible insects. Some insects may contain toxic substances especially those in the wild.
To find the best made-in-Eu edible insects, click here!
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