If you have never gone beyond the usual chicken, beef, fish, or pork as a delicacy during your meals, then it would be understandable if the imagination of this revelation alone proves nauseating you.
That including ants, some worms, and other bugs in your diet could protect you from developing cancer. I know, just the mere sight of these creepy crawlies could make you sick in the stomach but hey, health first.
And there are about 1500 edible insect species to choose from so you’ve got to give it ago, mate.
This is because scientists at the University of Rome have found that they contain more antioxidants than your ever-refreshing orange juice, in a study which saw ants, grasshoppers, crickets and silkworm grounded into a powdery state.
As you may already have learnt, antioxidants, such as vitamins, reduce the development of free radicals which have the potential to cause cancer in the body, and also guards against DNA damage.
So, the crushed bugs were tested to find out how many antioxidants – such as vitamins A, C and E and beta-carotene – were present in them.
With the view of wanting the insects to be consumed as a drink, certain parts of the insects, such their wings and stingers were taken off before they were grounded down.
Interestingly, the tests revealed that silkworm, African caterpillars, and giant cicadas had twice as many antioxidants as olive oil, while powdered cricket, grasshopper and silkworm had five times as many antioxidants as orange juice, which we’ve always considered highly nutritious.
Scientist, Professor Mauro Serafini explained what they found: ‘Edible insects are an excellent source of protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids, minerals, vitamins and fibre.’
‘But until now, nobody had compared them with classical functional foods such as olive oil or orange juice in terms of antioxidant activity.
‘In the future, we might also adapt dietary regimens for insect rearing in order to increase their antioxidant content for animal or human consumption.’
According Professor Serafini, besides these invertebrates being quality due to their low carbon footprint, taking to them would also help better the environment as compared to ‘typical farming’.
In the study which has been published in the journal, Frontiers in Nutrition, Professor Serafini also established that like how vegetarian people tend to have higher antioxidants levels than non-vegetarians, insects which also ate only plants were much healthier too.
Consequently, the grasshoppers and silkworm –both herbivores– had the most antioxidants, while ants and tarantulas –which eat other animals– ranked lower.
‘At least two billion people – a quarter of the world’s population – regularly eat insects.
‘The rest of us will need a bit more encouragement,’ Professor Serafini added.