By Titilayo Kupoliyi

Crickets are medium-sized to large insects. Like their relatives the grasshoppers and katydids, they have chewing mouth parts, and their back legs are larger and stronger than the other two pair.

They have rounded heads, antennae that are long and thin, and their wings bend down on the sides of their body. Unlike katydids, crickets often look flat, or at least the top of their body is flattened.

Cricket called “Irẹ̀” in Yorùbá Language, Kurket in Hausa and Mbụzụ/Abụzụ in Igbo Languages.

Unknowingly to many, edible crickets are packed with numerous nutritional values.

Although, small in size, they are packed mighty nutritional punches.

Crickets are a good source of protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and fiber and may help promote gut health.

Also, they could be a more environmentally friendly protein source than other animal proteins such as chicken.

In addition to protein, crickets are high in many other nutrients, including fat, calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, copper, folate, biotin, pantothenic acid, and iron.

Report shows that the iron content of crickets is 180% higher than that of beef; crickets were higher in calcium and the B vitamin riboflavin than meat products like chicken, pork, and beef.

Interestingly, crickets are a rich source of fiber, a nutrient that other sources of animal protein lack.

Additionally, crickets provide fat, mostly in the form of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Studies have linked these to health benefits, including improvements in risk factors for heart disease.

Farming insects such as crickets for food may be more sustainable and environmentally friendly than raising animals such as chicken, pigs, and cattle.

For example, some reports showed that broiler chickens were associated with 89% higher greenhouse gas emissions than crickets, per unit of edible protein produced.

According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), livestock account for 14.5% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.

Reducing your red meat intake and replacing it with more sustainable options like insect or plant protein is a smart way to help the environment.

Including insects as part of the diet may help industrialized countries create a more sustainable food system and make a dent in greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to protein, crickets contain 2.2x more iron than and more calcium than milk, gram for gram, as well as being packed with B-vitamins.

Omega-3s don’t only come in oily fish, either.

This amazing insect is a dense source of omega-3s, rich in essential fatty acids that help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis.

 Omega-3s can also assist memory and cognitive performance.

Crickets are no doubt then true super-food, and it’s time they are rediscovered.

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