The supply of edible insects has exploded in recent years. There are lots of posts from e-shops, websites and social networks of all kinds telling us that we should start eating them. But what's so special about it, what benefits does it bring to our bodies and who should avoid eating edible insects? Find out in our article today!
What types of insects can you consume?
You have quite a lot of choice in the world today when it comes to choosing insects and then consuming them by humans (technically speaking, entomophagy). You can also choose from insects such as cockroaches, all kinds of larvae, beetles or even tarantulas.
In our Czech waters, unfortunately, we don't have that many species allowed yet. Only the following species are allowed in the Czech Republic: the Brazilian cricket, the flour cricket, the banana cricket, the migratory cricket, the migratory anemone and the grasshopper. As abbreviated as our list of permitted species may be, there are still plenty of insects to create and plenty to sample. For example, did you know this?
If you were scared that you would have to eat the whole bug, you can breathe a sigh of relief. In this case, it is only the edible larva of this beetle. Larvae range in size from 1.5 to 4.5 cm.
These larvae are especially rich in higher fat. Because of this, they are also used by breeders as feeding larvae for animals.
These tiny little goodies grow 2-3 cm and although they have wings, they can be eaten throughout their developmental stage. Their bodies, including their limbs, are very soft and therefore there are no major problems when eating them.
This thermophilic insect, which grows to just 3.5 cm, feeds only on food of plant origin. Again, even though this species has wings, they are delicate to eat.
Now that we've taken a quick look at the permitted species and their specifications and nutritional benefits, let's summarize all of the benefits and possible risks to us when eating them.
Benefits of eating insects
1. Its consumption is widespread
Whether we admit it or not, eating insects is generally very beneficial to our health. At this time, at least 2 billion people on the planet are eating insects, which provide them with the most important nutrients needed for proper development of the body. And 2 billion is really no longer an insignificant number.
2. It's full of protein!
Not only do insects contain large amounts of protein, but these proteins are most often referred to as "clean" as opposed to common protein sources such as industrially processed meat. Insects are most often raised and processed without chemicals and antibiotics, and so are one of the most convenient and best accepted sources of protein for our bodies.
3. It contains a high number of health benefits
Insects are also a significant source of minerals, vitamins, fibre, and healthy fats that have similar effects on our bodies to those of fish.
4. It has a surprisingly good taste
Anyone who has said that they never put insects in their mouths has probably been struck by their appearance. But what they didn't gain in beauty they gained in taste. People most often compare the taste of insects to that of nuts or even chicken. So if you can overcome its appearance and put the insect at least in your mouth, the resulting taste should really no longer be a problem for you.
5. Insects in the fight against obesity
Insects are very low in calories and, depending on the species, contain 20-75% protein. For example, grasshoppers contain between 14 and 28 g of protein per 100 g. And this is really not an insignificant value. These properties make insects suitable for the diet and can help us with our body measurements.
6. Insects are healthful
All the species sold by specialist e-shops in the Czech Republic and the products they make from insects come from farms that are strictly controlled by the country where the insects are farmed. This ensures quality and health safety for us, the consumers.
Possible health risks of eating insects
1. Not all insects are edible
If you catch a blackbird, a robin or even a cricket in your garden, prepare it and want to eat it, no one can guarantee its health safety. Not only can you accidentally consume another insect species, but the preparation may not be as it should be and you may be sick to say the least. If you want to try insects, it's always best to do yourself a favour and pop into a specialist e-shop. Where you can find countless products and if it's an e-shop with really good customer service, they can even advise you on your choice.
2. Watch out for allergens!
Some species can contain dangerous allergens that are particularly dangerous for people with allergies to fish or other seafood.
As can be seen at first glance, insects bring far more benefits than risks to the human body and it would be a real shame to exclude them from your diet just because of their appearance. Avoid all risks, purchase insect products from a verified e-shop and you can dive into testing. Because when if not now?