According to a study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies eating crickets stimulates growth of beneficial gut bacteria and can also reduce inflammation. “I was on a trip with my parents in Central America and we were served fried ants,” recalls lead author of the study, Valerie Stull. “I remember being so grossed out initially, but when I put the ant in my mouth, I was really surprised because it tasted like food — and it was good!”
What Crickets Do For Your Guts
The report by Science Daily says that more than two billion people around the globe eat insects on a regular basis as they contain protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. “This study is important because insects represent a novel component in Western diets and their health effects in human populations haven’t really been studied,” according to co-corresponding author Tiffany Weir. “With what we now know about the gut microbiota and its relationship to human health, it’s important to establish how a novel food might affect gut microbial populations. We found that cricket consumption may actually offer benefits beyond nutrition.”
Insects, crickets to be specific, have fibers like chitin that aren’t anything like the ones you would find in fruits and vegetables. Fibers found in insects help in growth of bacteria that is good for your gut which is well known as probiotics. In this study, 20 men and women having good health, were given either a controlled breakfast or a breakfast having of 25 grams of powdered crickets through muffins and shakes. These participants then had a regular diet for two weeks. After the regular diet period, the participants who had the controlled breakfast started the cricket diet and the ones who were on the cricket diet went on the control breakfast diet.
The result was that there was significant increase in bacteria like Bifidobacterium animalis which has been linked to improved gastrointestinal function. “This very small study shows that this is something worth looking at in the future when promoting insects as a sustainable food source,” says Stull.