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Researchers have stumbled on a new revelation that has to do with eating crickets! Before you scrunch up your face in disgust at the thought of eating the insect, you should know that the research has uncovered the positive effect eating crickets may have on the health of your gut and the reduction of overall body inflammation, which has long-term positive health effects.
With a lot of edible insects gaining widespread popularity, crickets are certainly not left out of the equation and this study has proven so. Crickets have been known to be a good and healthy source of fiber especially the type of protein called chitin. Chitin is quite different from the fibers gotten from eating your good old fruits and vegetables. Fibers are known to be an important element in ensuring and sustaining the growth of healthy gut bacteria known as probiotics, thus leading to the speculation that fibers gotten from insects can also sustain gut health.
A study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison revealed that there was an increase in the production of the metabolic enzyme that is associated with gut health in the participants who ate a controlled cricket diet as opposed to those who did not. Furthermore, there was a reduction in the levels of blood protein associated with or linked to inflammation (called the TNF-alpha), regularly used to measure wellbeing. The increase in this blood protein is regularly seen in depression and cancer.
For the study, samples of the blood and feces of participants as well as their gastrointestinal information were collected at three points during the entire course of the study. The first was collected at the beginning of the study, the second was collected after the first two weeks intervention and the final collection was done at the end of the study, after the final two weeks intervention. At the end of the study, from the results gathered, it was discovered that there were no side effects or significant gastrointestinal changes observed by the participants from eating the crickets.
According to Tiffany Weir, “the consumption of crickets may offer benefits far beyond nutrition”. Also, crickets are much more environmentally friendly than the traditional livestock we turn to for the supply of protein and some other nutrients to our bodies. She continued making a call for more research into the health effects of crickets and other edible insects that prior studies conducted have not been able to uncover.
More studies are expected, with emphasis on replicating the findings in a larger group of participants since the Wisconsin-Madison study was conducted on a relatively small group. It is important to note that this study opens us up to a world of untapped sources of nutrients; one that is considerably cheaper and will offer a healthier alternative to meat.