I know what youâ€™re thinkingâ€¦ the idea of eating insects is gross! But donâ€™t be too quick to dismiss this option.
There are a bunch of benefits to introducing edible insects into your diet ranging from the nutritional value to the impact on the environment.
Entomophagy (a term used to describe eating insects) is already enjoyed by millions around the globe, with a new generation of chefs and foodies embracing this new, alternative source of food.
Insects are such a successful alternative that the United Nations is also supporting this initiative to help boost nutrition and reduce pollution.
Still donâ€™t believe me? Here are 6 reasons why you should switch to an insect-rich diet.
1.High in protein
Their high protein content is one of the main reasons that edible insects are such a healthy alternative to meat, fish and chicken.
Compared to traditional forms of food, edible insects contain a higher percentage of protein. For example, grasshoppers contain more than 70% protein per 100g compared to chicken which contains around 27% protein per 100g.
It may shock you to know that:
- 3.5 ounces of crickets contains the same amount of protein as two large eggs!
- 100 g of mealworms contains 24g of protein, whereas Atlantic salmon only contains 20 per 100g.
However, as explained by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the protein content of edible insects does depend on their feed. Insects which are bred on a diet of foods which contain high levels of essential fatty acids will contain almost double the amount of protein.
2.Rich in nutrients
Not only are they high in protein, but edible insects are also extremely rich in nutrients. The majority of them contain all the necessary nutrients such as iron and potassium that your body needs.
Mealworms, for example, are rich in copper, sodium, potassium, iron and zinc! If that doesnâ€™t convince you then you may be surprised to know that Mopane caterpillars contain a whopping 31mg of iron per 100g whereas beef only contains 6mg.
Crickets are also rich in potassium. These little creatures contain 374mg of potassium per 100g, thatâ€™s only 11mg less than a banana.
3.Contain essential fats
The idea that edible insects are low in fat is not necessarily true. However, as you know, there are good and bad fats.
Unlike the latest burger from your favourite fast food chain, edible insects are rich in essential fats that our body needs. For example, did you know mealworms contain omega fatty acids?
The FAO explain that the oils of edible insects are â€œrich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and frequently contain the essential linoleic and Î±-linolenic acidsâ€. The nutritional value of these acids is highly recognised, particularly as an essential part of the healthy development of children and infants.
4.Solution to world hunger
This is largely down to the fact that edible insects are extremely healthy and cheap to produce whilst also being easily accessible for communities across the globe.
Not only are edible insects incredibly nutritional, they are also far more environmentally friendly than traditional forms of meat in terms of farming.
Farming edible insects require far less water. On average it takes around 1 gallon of water to create 1lbs of cricket protein, whereas it takes around 2,000 gallons to create the same amount of beef.
Insect farming has a very low carbon footprint, requiring less space to produce and they also emit far less methane, carbon dioxide and require far less feed
6.Sustainable source of food
Edible insects are an extremely sustainable source of food. Why might you ask?
Well, because of their high nutritional value and the fact that they are found on almost every continent, edible insects are far more easily accessible and cheaper to produce than traditional sources of food. Insects also reproduce a lot faster than chickens and cows, meaning more food can be grown in the same amount of time.
Pestaurant (a pop-up restaurant) was introduced by Rentokil to help highlight the health benefits of an insect-rich diet and raise awareness of pest problems and offer tips for pest control.
In 2014 we introduced the worldâ€™s first global Pestaurant with pop-up restaurants appearing in 11 countries across the globe on the 4th of June, where around 13,300 people got their teeth stuck into edible insects. The event took place again in 2015 when over 18,000 edible insects were consumed across the globe
If you are interested in introducing edible insects into your diet then download our FREE cookbook. Itâ€™s filled with a range of delicious recipes to try out.