Have you ever wondered insects can be a great source of nutrition? Well, some people will say – oh my god, how could we eat insects, given the fact, we have so many fine foods and vegetables for ourselves? And some will argue by saying – from an ancient time, people have been eating insects to get nutrition and vitamins, which are not present in our body.
In this article, we are going to take the support of the second types of people who believe insects are in fact, a fantastic way to provide nutritional value to our body. We will talk about what kind of nutrition you can get from insects and which insects provide the best value. So, let us have a look at the article.
Before going to the depths of the topic, we want you to know that there has been a constant debate as to whether the insects are a good source of nutrition. This debate has grown over the years because of lack of knowledge. For example – have you observed how birds feed insects to their young?
Basically, the young birds become ready to fly and leave their nest in just three weeks. So, how do they get the strength in such short time? The answer is insects have a combination of nutritional elements and fluids, which provides the necessary nutritional value to the birds, making them strong enough to fly.
Some facts about nutritional value of insects
As we have said earlier that insects are a genuine source of food for birds and animals, humans can also get benefits by eating them. You will see many articles and research studies, citing the significance of eating insects. Even from different archaeological explorations, you will find out people in ancient time had eaten them on a regular basis. For example – one painting from an archaeological site depicts that mankind had utilized tools to collect termites from the mounds for food.
If we talk about recent times, you will be amazed to know around 80% people of the world are eating insects every day. In Mexico, more than 200 edible insects have been used as foods and in Thailand, there are more than 20,000 insects firms. Not to mention, Cambodia is the top exporter of edible insects.
So, what do you understand from this information? Insects contain protein and other nutritive elements such as vitamins, mineral, prebiotic fiber, beneficial fats, etc. In that case, you could say that insects are the new frontier in nutrition and we have much more to discover from them.
How can insects be a great source of Nutritional Value?
From a health point of view, insects contain a high amount protein with vitamins and minerals in abundance. There is also beneficial fats and different amino acids. Besides, one vitamin, name Vitamin B12 is not found in plant sources. In fact, nuts and pulses don’t simply have this vitamin. However, insects can provide this vitamin easily. Even insects include the combination of unsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are high in fish, pork, and cattle.
Furthermore, when you will eat insects, you have to eat them in whole, meaning that the complete exoskeleton, vital organs, and muscle tissues will be consumed by you. This fact is the most significant fact as you will be able to enjoy the high micro-nutritional value of insects.
Some significant edible insects for nutritional value
1. Grasshoppers and Crickets: Grasshoppers and crickets are two of the best edible insects. A 3.5-ounce grasshoppers can provide you with 14-28 grams of protein. This amount of protein is significant, given the fact, the grasshopper is a small insect. In relation to this fact, 30-60% of women need 46 grams of protein daily and 25-50% of men need 56 grams of protein each day. In that case, a grasshopper can meet this protein demand of men and women smoothly.
Additionally, crickets and grasshoppers contain unsaturated fats. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, unsaturated fats are essential for reducing the risk of heart disease. On a side note, humans cannot synthesize essential fatty acids as they have to obtain this health nutritional element via diet. Therefore, crickets can easily deliver this nutrition as they have a fantastic Omega 3:6 balance.
2. Ants: According to National Geographic website, a 3.5-ounce red ants are enough to provide 14 grams of protein. The same amount of red ants can supply 5.7 milligrams of iron. Now, men need 8 milligrams of iron each and women need 18 milligrams every day. Thus, these red ants can cover almost 71% of the men’s iron demand. They can also meet one-third of iron demand of the women as well. Not to mention, red ants along with other types of ants are a great source of calcium.
The Bottom Line
The fact of the matter is insects have certainly nutritional value and you can grow them just anywhere you want. Along with other food items, you can add them to your food list because when you start eating insects for nutrition, you are putting less pressure on nature, meaning that we can have a sustainable environment altogether. So, if you have any questions regarding our opinion, please share your thoughts in the comments section.