Crickets and gut health: what’s the link?￼
There are a lot of health benefits to eating crickets, from building muscle mass due to increased protein intake to providing us with more key vitamins and minerals such as iron. However, one of the biggest is their ability to improve gut health. Crickets can aid digestion and help alleviate digestive ailments such as IBS.
Eating crickets boosts healthy gut bacteria
Crickets contain chitin – a fibrous material that forms the structure of their exoskeletons. It’s also found naturally in the shells of crustaceans, including crabs, shrimps, and lobsters. Together with other fibres, chitin provides prebiotic properties to gut flora. This increases the healthy bacteria, aiding digestive health, reducing inflammation, and improving the immune system.
What the research says
One major study, published by Scientific Reports in 2018, examined 20 participants who supplemented 25g of cricket powder over 14 days. The study found that the cricket powder promoted the growth of a probiotic bacterium called Bifidobacterium animalis. This bacterium increased 5.7-fold.
Tiffany Weir – a co-founder of the study – said that the study shows that cricket powder offers a wide range of nutritional benefits. She claims that the results suggest that the chitin in the cricket powder contributes to a healthier digestive system. Weir also points out that eating crickets was safe throughout the study period, with no instances of unwelcome side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and constipation.
How to add crickets to your diet
Eating crickets has been shown to improve gut health, aiding a range of digestive ailments. However, many people simply aren’t sure how to add these edible insects to their diets. Most simply aren’t attracted to the prospect of chowing down on raw, whole crickets. Not only are they not very visually appealing but their texture is often not to everyone’s tastes.
The good news is that these nutritious bugs come in various forms that make them much more palatable. Often, they’re ground into a powder, creating cricket flour and pasta that can be used to make a variety of snacks and meals. Cricket flour is incredibly versatile since it can be used in the same way as conventional flour. It can be used to make bread, cakes, biscuits, and even sauces and dressings.
Gut health is more important than ever. With more people adopting sedentary lifestyles that have a negative influence on the microbiome, an imbalance between good and bad bacteria is becoming more common. It’s become clear that sitting down for such long periods of time can have a dramatic impact on the digestive tract. Adding more fibre to your diet by eating edible insects like crickets is a fantastic way to combat many digestive issues.