I have a “gut” feeling, this might hit home for some of you out there.
From helping to build strong bones, to increasing energy for athletes while reducing risk for heart disease, crickets are packed with an incredible number of health benefits. While some may be of more interest to dieters and athletes than the average food junkie, heart health, bone health and gut health are universal interests.
To view my blog post about the health benefits of crickets, click here.
The effect that eating crickets can have on gut health was relatively unknown until, in 2018, Tiffany Weir, associate professor in the Colorado State University (CSU) Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, and Valerie Stull, doctoral graduate from the University of Wisconsin – Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, conducted an experiment to test the effects crickets have on microbiota in the gut.
Students at CSU helped design and test recipes with cricket powder (made with roasted and ground crickets) that masked the taste to be used in the blind study. Eventually, they settled on using malt milkshakes and a pumpkin spice muffins (yum!).
The crossover study lasted six weeks. 20 healthy participants were divided into two groups; one group ate the muffins and milkshakes with the cricket powder, the other without. Then, after taking a two-week break from the study, the groups switched, with the second group now eating the muffins and milkshakes without the cricket powder, and the first without.
Two major health improvements were noted in the experiment:
- Levels of a metabolic enzyme tied to better gut health had increased to some extent.
- Levels a blood protein linked to inflammation (TNF-alpha) had decreased
Higher levels of TNF-alpha, according to Weir and Stull, are often seen in depression and even cancer.
Crickets and other insects are also a prime source for fiber, though the type of fiber they contain (chitin) is different from what we get from some fruits or vegetables. Fibers are important in sustaining the growth of probiotics, or healthful gut bacteria, and the fiber provided by crickets has proven its reliability in gut health.
Our gut health is vital to the rest of our body. Our gut keeps bad bacteria in check, helps us break down foods, looks out for our heart’s and kidneys’ well-being, and keeps obesity and diabetes far, far away. That is, if your gut is working the way it should.
So, next time you’re looking for a healthy and hearty snack that brings more than a few health benefits to the table for everyone, think about giving your friendly neighborhood crickets a try–in the form of our delicious bars of course.