Chicken, beans and eggs are all good protein sources. Crickets are also, and the small bugs may also be good for your bowel, according to a new report.
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Researchers from the University of Wisconsin, Madison recently conducted a study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, to determine how to eat insects that contain vitamins, minerals and healthy fats can affect the human body.
To do that, they examined 20 healthy adults aged 18 and 48 for about six weeks. During the first two weeks, half of the group controlled a breakfast while the other group had a morning meal containing 25 grams of powdery cakes in muffins and shakes. In the following two weeks, all participants normally. Then, over the past two weeks, those who started with a regular diet cricket meal and those who started with the cricket meal had normal food.
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Throughout the experiment, researchers collected blood samples tested for blood sugar and enzymes associated with liver function and rejection tests tested for inflammatory chemicals associated with the gastrointestinal tract. They also asked the subjects to complete three gastrointestinal questionnaires all the time.
After analyzing the results, they said that the participants did not report any significant gastrointestinal changes or side effects. The researchers also noted that they did not see any changes in overall microbial composition or changes in intestinal inflammation.
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However, they observed an increase of a metabolic enzyme associated with intestinal health and a decrease in an inflammatory protein in the blood TNF-alpha, linked to depression and cancer.
In addition, they saw a blow in excess of beneficial bowel bacteria such as Bifidobacterium animalis, a strain linked to improved gastrointestinal function.
“This study is important because insects represent a new component in western diets and their health effects in human populations have not really been studied,” co-author Tiffany Weir said in a statement. “With what we now know about the intestinal micro robot and its relation to human health, it is important to determine how a new food can affect intestinal microbial populations. We found that cricket consumption can actually offer benefits over nutrition.”
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Researchers are now hoping to continue their studies and promote insects as a more common food alternative in the United States. They said that more than 2 billion people around the world, including in Africa and Thailand, eat bugs regularly.
“Food is very much related to culture and 20 or 30 years ago, no one in the United States is eating sushi because we thought it was disgusting,” said author Valerie Stull. “But now you can get it at a petrol station in Nebraska.” [1