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Recently in our article, we wondered what would happen if a person accidentally swallowed a cockroach. If the insect was not a carrier of any dangerous disease, then, of course, nothing terrible will happen to a person. Moreover, in China and some other Asian countries, cockroaches are considered a delicacy. There are even entire farms for it. It would seem, why eat cockroaches and insects in general, when there is enough food in the same China? Of course, this is some tradition that has developed over hundreds, maybe thousands of years. However, according to scientists, it makes sense to eat insects not only because of traditions. It is even possible that in the future they will become quite common products for us, like, for example, animal meat or fish. But why are a number of experts so insistent on their consumption?
Advantages of insects as food
Many people become uncomfortable just thinking about eating insects. However, you will certainly be surprised by the fact that in the world of insects, about two billion people consume. This is reported by the
journal Molecular Immunology . Moreover, insects are eaten not only in Asia. They are also popular in Africa and South America.
If you are not surprised yet, then let’s say even more – products with insects are on the shelves of our stores, so you probably use them. The fact is that cereal products always contain a certain amount of insect pieces. But that’s not all. Red dye Cochineal is generally made entirely from crushed beetles. So, a start has already been made.
What are the benefits of insects
According to Food Chemistry , insects are a rich source of protein as well as vitamins, minerals and lipids. And if you consume them together with a chitinous exoskeleton, then they can also provide our body with fiber.
The protein content of insects is higher than even fish such as tuna, which are famous for their abundance of protein. It makes up 40 to 75% of the total dry weight. In tuna, this figure is 30%, and in chicken breast it is even less – about 21%. But, most importantly, insect proteins are rich in useful and important amino acids for the human body, the content of which ranges from 46 to 96%.
But the abundance of proteins does not yet indicate their high benefits for the body. Another important parameter is digestibility. In insect proteins, it ranges from 77% to 98%. What does it mean? Insects are a better source of protein than the traditional foods we eat on a daily basis.
Eating insects is not only useful, but also beneficial
As a rule, insects are cheap to feed and grow, they take up little space and multiply quickly. Anyone who has ever encountered Prussians in the kitchen knows this. You do not spend money at all to feed and grow them, moreover, you try to fight them, and they will continue to make forays into your kitchen.
“Compared to normal livestock in general, insects have a higher feed conversion efficiency, i.e. they require less food to produce 1 kg of biomass, they have a higher fecundity, for example, the common domestic cricket lays up to 1,500 eggs in a month, says Birgit Rumpold, Ph.D., researcher at the Technical University of Berlin.
In addition, growing insects requires much less water than growing animals or, for example, crops. Water, as you know, is becoming more and more scarce on Earth. Earlier we talked about the drying up of the European River Rhine, even US Colorado river is drying up, resulting to many US famers had to stop irrigating their fields this year. This happened for the first time in history.
But that’s not the only benefit of growing insects as food. They can help in the recycling of organic food waste. That is, the cultivation of insects is not only low-cost, but they are also able to reduce costs and generally solve the problem of food waste disposal. Insects also emit less greenhouse gases than animals and plants. By the way, the latter often surpass even cows in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, which are considered a serious source of methane in the atmosphere.
What insect is the most beneficial and useful?
There are millions of species of insects on Earth, while more than 2,000 species can be called edible. But which insect is the most beneficial and useful? According to scientists, the insect should be resistant to disease, unpretentious, able to withstand temperature and other stresses, consume little water and be easy to grow. According to some experts, such an insect is the black lion fly.
But, do not rush to twist your face. This does not mean that scientists suggest that people eat flies. Insects can be excellent food for livestock. And in the future, who knows, perhaps insects will no longer cause us such disgust as they do now. After all, we eat crayfish, shrimp, crabs. But if you think about it, why are they better than insects?