Lose weight, gain energy, become a healthier you; crickets can do it all.
Crickets are low in fat, high in energy-boosting protein and packed with iron and calcium. These are nutrients everyone needs every day. But researchers are discovering that crickets can do so much more than improve our everyday health.
Crickets can also assist in controlling diseases such as diabetes.
Felicia Hall, a graduate student in Purdue’s food science program, and Andrea Liceaga, a Purdue associate professor of food science,
Liceaga and Hall are working together on ways to incorporate alternative proteins, like crickets, into palatable food options geared towards western audiences, insects being a common food source in Liceaga’s home country of Mexico. But Hall’s research is also centered around how proteins from crickets might be used to enhance the nutritional value of food (such as the use of protein flour/powder). In the course of this research, Hall and Liceaga uncovered significant therapeutic benefits of eating crickets, extended beyond the typical nutritional benefits.
“A small fragment of the cricket protein, called a peptide, is known to have potential health benefits in humans,” said Liceaga in an article published by the university. “Peptides from many different sources, milk, fish and even soy, are used in pharmaceuticals today…In laboratory tests, these peptides have shown several health benefits, most notably anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties. They have also been linked to having an effect in lowering high blood pressure.”
“Introducing the benefits of insect peptides to the pharmaceutical market is really the next frontier,” added Hall.
Gabriela Jiménez Casas, a researcher at the Institute of Ecology at the National Autonomous University (UNAM), was diagnosed with diabetes 10 years ago, and focused her own research on crickets and other insects toward achieving a more balanced, sugar-free diet. Like Hall and Liceaga, Jiménez Casas found that insects, free of sugar and transfats while still high in protein, contained a lot of the nutrients she needed to keep her diabetes under control.
Crickets are said to contain five times as much magnesium as beef, and consuming proteins with high amounts of magnesium has the potential to reduce the effects of Type 2 Diabetes. The cricket’s high amounts of protein also help in burning fat and stabilizing blood sugar levels, a constant need for diabetics.
While there’s still more research to be done, crickets have the potential to become a new favorite in the diet and nutrition world, with their numerous health benefits (including improving gut health) and their eco-friendly assets for our planet. They haven’t been medically certified as an official cure-all, but there’s no denying there are only pros to giving crickets (or cricket powder) a try.
To learn how to cook with cricket powder, check out my previous blog post, “HOW TO COOK WITH CRICKET POWDER, AND WHY.”