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Are crickets and other creepy crawlies the new superfood?

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Mauro Serafini
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Please see our privacy policy for more information.The details of this article have been emailed on your behalf.Click here to return to the Medical News Today home page.Edible insects have the highest market value in Asia-Pacific regions, according to recent reports. Serafini and team found that, in some cases, insects beat oranges — which are high in antioxidants — and other healthful foods.In particular, water-soluble extracts from grasshoppers, silkworms, and crickets have five times the antioxidant power of fresh orange juice, which nutritionists value for its high antioxidant content.Moreover, the fat-soluble content of silkworms, evening cicadas, and African caterpillars have twice the antioxidant power of olive oil.When it comes to the total level of polyphenols (antioxidants), the researchers note that grasshoppers, black ants, and mealworms pack the highest amount. At the same time, Thai zebra tarantulas, black scorpions, and giant water bugs have little to offer."There's a clear trend: the vegetarians [strictly plant-eating invertebrates] have markedly higher antioxidant capacity," says Prof Serafini.The researchers explain that their current findings are very promising; if insects really are better sources of nutrients, this could help address the global problem of food sustainability, they argue."Our results show that edible insects and invertebrates are an optimal source of bioactive ingredients and of high quality protein, minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids, together with a low environmental impact, highlighting their importance as sustainable novel foods under a nutritional, functional, and ecological point of view," the scientists write in their paper.However, the team also cautions that they have not yet tested the effectiveness and safety of insect-derived antioxidants in humans."The in vivo efficiency of antioxidant-rich food is highly dependent on bioavailability [effectiveness of a substance once it enters the body] and the presence of an ongoing oxidative stress [a key factor that contributes to cellular damage]," explains Prof.

As said here by Maria Cohut