Brace Yourself — This is the Meat of the Future
Love it or leave it, eating crickets is a practice that may very well be here to stay. Crickets, like many insects, provide nutrient-dense food that can help support and sustain life while offering environmental benefits. Perhaps more than some things, selling crickets as the newest food trend isn’t as easy as it sounds, but it’s definitely something to chirp about.
1. Good Source of Complete Protein
According to Men’s Health, crickets contain at least twice as much protein as beef when measured ounce for ounce. Additionally, crickets are a complete protein, which means that they also contain all nine of the essential amino acids that your body can’t produce on its own.
2. Pump Iron With Crickets
There’s more than one way to support healthy muscles. Crickets contain muscle-building nutrients, which makes them popular with CrossFit and paleo diet enthusiasts, as reported by Men’s Health. Crickets are particularly rich in iron, one of the key nutrients that prevents anemia. Anemia can cause weakness, dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath and chest pain.
3. Boost Energy With B12
Crickets also contain a rich supply of vitamin B12, a nutrient that is only found in insects, animal products and fortified foods. B12 is a key nutrient for creating new blood cells, keeping nerve cells healthy and preventing energy-zapping anemia, as reported by Everyday Health.
4. Bone-Strengthening Nutrition
Milk isn’t the only way to keep your bones strong and healthy. Because you eat crickets whole, you also get a bone-supporting dose of calcium and zinc, as reported by CNN.
5. Heart-Healthy Nutrition
You don’t have to limit yourself to salads to boost your heart health. With roughly five times more magnesium than beef, crickets can help reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes simply by boosting your magnesium intake, according to Men’s Health. Crickets are also a rich-source of omega-3 fatty acids, which may help minimize inflammation in the blood vessels, lower the risk of an abnormal heart rhythm and lower triglyceride levels.
6. Minimize Waste
Whether you eat them whole or ground into cricket flour, you’re eating the whole cricket. Unlike livestock, which is culled and processed for parts, the entire cricket is used. That means you eat bones and organs, which contributes to cricket’s boost of calcium, iron, zinc and B12.
7. Environmentally Friendly Production
If the stellar nutritional profile isn’t enough, raising crickets is widely believed to be an environmentally friendly business with a significantly smaller carbon footprint than traditional livestock farming. Popular Science points out that crickets require less feed than traditional livestock, are more efficient at converting feed to protein, and they may be more sustainable as a result.
8. Sound Easy? Not So Fast
Despite the potential benefits, getting over the mental image of eating bugs is a daunting task. Although there are several start-ups in North America, there’s also plenty of red tape to get through. No matter what side of the love-it-or-leave-it debate you fall on, there’s little question that more research is needed before hailing crickets as the new chicken.