Entomophagy or insect consumption. Nowadays, this topic is increasingly discussed. There are many reasons to eat insects. You can read a list of them in our article 20 reasons to eat crickets. Let's now focus on what benefits the insect body contains.
Natural source of nutrients
Insects are an important source of nutrients. In particular, these invertebrates contain a huge amount of high quality protein. The quality of the protein depends on the type of amino acids contained. The protein content of edible insects on a dry matter basis varies between 40 and 80 %. Different insects also have different protein contents, but as a rule insects are superior to meat from livestock and fish. Adult insects contain more protein than their developmental stages (larvae, pupae, nymphs).
Protein is made up of amino acids that are essential for the body. They function as the basic building blocks of the body. Some amino acids are essential, which means that the body cannot make them on its own. And insects contain just such amino acids, such as phenylalanine, lysine, tryptophan and threonine.
Other essential substances for the body are fatty acids. They are important for the proper function of the musculoskeletal system, the cardiovascular system, brain function, growth and development and many other parts of the human body. It is known that omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are found in fish. So do insects!
The fatty acids make up the individual fats. These are absolutely essential for the body as they are the main source of energy. Edible insects contain between 10 and 60% fat in their dry matter. They can be described as "healthy" fats precisely because they contain large amounts of unsaturated fatty acids.
The body of these invertebrates contains minerals. Firstly, the macro-elements Ca, P, Mg, Na and then the micro-elements Zn, Cu, Mn, Fe and others. The iron content is particularly important. The WHO has identified iron deficiency as the most common and widespread disorder in the world. Beef has an iron content of 6 mg per 100 g of dry matter; the bush caterpillar, for example, contains 31 - 77 mg per 100 g of dry matter. Edible insects sometimes contain more but at least the same amount of iron as beef. Zinc deficiency is also a global human health problem. Insects are considered a good source of it. For example, the larvae of the palm weevil contain more than twice as much zinc as beef.
Let's not forget that these invertebrates are also a source of vitamins. Vitamins have many functions in the body, from supporting immunity to stimulating metabolic processes to the proper function and production of red blood cells and the nervous system. Vitamins B1, B2 and B12, which are only found in foods of animal origin, are found in the insect body. There are also vitamins A, C, D, E and K.
Not everyone knows that foods of animal origin such as eggs, fish, dairy products or meat do not contain any fiber. It is essential for the proper functioning of the intestines. Insects contain a lot of it! The fibre of insects - chitin - forms its outer skeleton. That is why it is so rich in fibre.
The insect body contains nutrients that are essential for the human body. And they contain a lot of them!