Here in the United States we are not accustomed to eating crickets, or any other kinds of insects for that matter. But there are many parts of the world in which eating insects, including crickets is common. In fact, people in many parts of the world think it’s strange that we don’t eat crickets. Well those people may now have the last laugh because it may turn out that eating crickets is healthy.
New research suggests that saving room on your plate for some crunchy, chirpy protein might be good for your health. Specifically, eating crickets may help improve the natural bacteria in your gut (microbiome) and reduce inflammation in your body.
For the study, 20 volunteers were given a bugs-for-breakfast diet for two weeks. The volunteers weren’t made to eat the creatures just as they are but were fed muffins or shakes made with the crickets. The 20 volunteers ate either a regular breakfast or one containing muffins or shakes made with cricket powder for two weeks.
The study showed that eating a diet of crickets in the morning helped one probiotic in particular, Bifidobacterium animalis, to flourish. This probiotic strain has been linked to better gut function, the researchers said. Using blood and stool samples, they also saw evidence of reduced inflammation in the body. Inflammation has been linked to many disorders, such as depression and cancer, the study team noted.
The study’s lead author, Valerie Stull believes Americans should gives bugs a chance and commented that “Even the most open-minded Americans struggle with the idea of eating insects — at least at first. It just isn’t part of our food culture,” she said. But, if you’re willing to try a diet with bugs, Stull said that “edible insects are nutritious and often delicious.”
Although a diet that includes crickets can be healthy, Stull knows it isn’t the cure for everything. “I don’t believe that edible insects are the silver bullet for solving all of our current agriculture, health, and environmental challenges. But they certainly have potential,” she said.