So last week I addressed the topic of entomophagy (or eating insects), which as a plant-based eater myself, should have me running for the hills… However, I do see a lot of benefit in eating bugs. If you missed my last post, I mentioned the benefits the creepy crawlies have on our environment and today I thought I would share with you the health benefits as they pertain to human consumption.
So, what are the nutritional benefits of bugs? Well let me preface that by saying, it varies. Research is still very limited because there are nearly 2,000 different species of insects eaten throughout the world. Each insect not only has different health benefits but depending on the stage of metamorphosis, the nutrient composition within each species varies can vary, as well. Not to mention how these bugs are fed during their growth and later prepared (i.e. boiled, baked, fried, etc.) all factor into the nutritional benefits of insects.
WIth that said, we do know bugs are made up of great things including acceptable amounts of energy and proteins. The protein content in bugs is of a high dietary quality comparable to animals. The amino acids present in insects meet human requirements. Insects are also high in both mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids and the list of micronutrients consists of riboflavin, folic acid, manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, selenium… the list goes on!
While more research still needs to be done on these delicious pests, introducing new and more biodiverse foods into the Western world could help to make us less dependent on animals like cows and chickens as our only source of “real protein” and there by reducing animal suffering. [I truly believe you don’t need animal protein in your diet but I won’t dive into that today]. An America that is less dependent upon cattle and more open to new ways of sustainable eating is a must for the future!
For more great bug info, check out the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations website.