Why we’re crazy about crickets (and their health benefits)!
Why we’re crazy about crickets (and their health benefits)!
Eating crickets might sound crazy to some, but the health and nutritional benefits will quickly change your mind and have you advocating for cricket protein in no time. If the health benefits aren’t enough for you, these little critters are an environmentally sustainable alternative to livestock, resulting in a less damaging impact on our beautiful planet, while providing a nutrient-dense superfood for us to consume (that’s a win-win for the Earth and our bodies!).
PACKED WITH PROTEIN
At this point, you might have heard something about crickets being the future of protein, and there's a good reason for that. Although humble in size, crickets pack a mighty nutritional punch; offering up to 71g of protein per 100g, compared to roughly 30g of protein in chicken and 43g in beef. The protein composition of crickets is also superior, with cricket protein containing all nine essential amino acids, helping your body with growth, energy production, and immune function. Cricket powder is easy for our body to digest and it supports our gut with high levels of prebiotic fibre called Chitin (pronounced kai-tn).
Now, before you get all squeamish at the thought of having to eat crickets, adding C9 Protein powder into essentially any of your favourite recipes is a great place to start! The subtle nutty and earthy flavour means you can easily add this powder into shakes, bakes, bars, or balls – the options are limitless! We love adding it into a curry or stir-fry to keep true to the cultural heritage of the many people who already consume insects as part of their natural diet in the world today. In fact, with more than half of the world’s population already eating insects, you’re actually in the minority if you don’t incorporate insects into your meals! Welcome to the future of food...
Crickets don’t skimp on how many nutrients they offer us either, containing an appreciable amount of polyunsaturated fats, vitamins, and minerals. Crickets are highly unsaturated and are a dense source of omega-3s, meaning they are rich in essential fatty acids that help lower your risk of chronic disease, whilst assisting your memory and cognitive function. In fact, crickets contain more healthy omegas than nearly all fish, and their ratio of polyunsaturated fats to saturated fats is far superior to meat, with the added bonus that crickets are cleaner and do not contain all of those harmful nasties found in meat and fish!
Crickets are abundant in all of the B-Vitamins, and they are especially rich in Vitamin B12, with C9 cricket powder containing 24 µg/100g. Vitamin B12 is key when it comes to supporting healthy bodily functions, as it supports our metabolism, energy, brain and nervous system. This crucial vitamin is found naturally in animal-based foods, which can place vegetarians, vegans and predominantly plant-based eaters at risk of experiencing a significant Vitamin B12 deficiency. To ensure your brain and nervous system remain in the highest-performing state, it’s essential to ensure you have a consistent intake of Vitamin B12, which can be easily acquired from cricket powder by adding it to your meal of choice. Crickets also contain high amounts of magnesium, zinc, and manganese - all of which are essential to our overall wellbeing, skin health, immune system, and cognitive function. Sounds like Crickets are the perfect sustainable superfood…
If all of these benefits haven’t informed you with the benefits of crickets already, crickets offer more than two times the amount of iron than spinach, which is an important nutrient for red blood cell production and transport of oxygen throughout the body. Maintaining high iron levels is also beneficial for supporting immune function, energy levels and maintaining healthy hair, skin and nails.
Additionally for women, including cricket powder in your diet can be beneficial for maintaining healthy iron levels throughout your menstrual cycle, supporting you to feel more energised and lively through all of the benefits of this vital mineral. Unlike spinach, crickets contain heme-iron, which is more readily available for our bodies to digest and absorb. For those following a predominantly plant-based diet, crickets are a wonderful source of iron and a sustainable alternative to other animal-based sources. This means that you receive all the essential nutrients of meat while maintaining your sustainable dietary focus. Eating crickets has never been more glamorous!
Gut health is the cornerstone to maintaining a healthy immune system and governing our overall wellbeing, since at least 70% of our immune system is located in our gut. While this mini-ecosystem exists within each of us to help digest food and assimilate nutrients – among many other responsibilities – it is also responsible for producing many of the compounds that help to support our immune system! Our ability for the gut to function effectively relies on the diversity of bacteria that lives within our gut. It is therefore our own responsibility to ensure that our intake is beneficial to the wellbeing of our inner-zoo, also known as our microbiome!
One of the simplest ways to promote microbial biodiversity in our diet is by including foods that are naturally high in fibre and nutrients, as these feed our microbiome. Cue the crickets… Through the consumption of cricket powder, we are able to increase the abundance of at least 5 beneficial bacterial strains, helping us to improve gastrointestinal function, and reduce systemic inflammation - which is the root cause of many modern diseases. Crickets contain an important polysaccharide called chitin (pronounced kai-tn) which acts as an insoluble fibre with prebiotic properties to support our microbiome through promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. Another bonus to consuming C9 Protein is that it is gluten and dairy free, which enables you to avoid the inflammatory triggers caused by these foods in our gut, and still receive all the great nutrients our bodies need to thrive.
Crickets are little nutritional powerhouses that are also sustainable wonders, as they produce virtually no methane and require minimal feed, water and space compared to traditional protein sources, including many plant-based sources of protein. It’s certainly more environmentally efficient to farm crickets than livestock, since farming crickets uses 93% less land to produce an equivalent amount of protein compared to livestock farming. This is due to the high-protein availability of crickets and the scalable efficiencies of farming crickets in their ideal environment. Crickets also require 6x less feed to produce an equivalent amount of protein compared to traditional livestock agricultural practices, and the crickets can be grown from the offcuts of existing organic farms, which helps to close the loop on food waste and create a sustainable circular food system. Insect protein is also a clean food source, as the insects do not require any feed additives, antibiotics or chemicals, which are often prevalent through many farming practices. This means the insects are happy and healthy, so you can be too!
Of great importance and consideration is the positive effect that farming crickets has on the climate, since cricket farming produces only 1% of the Greenhouse gas emissions of traditional livestock. Considering 80% of GHG emissions generated within the agricultural sector originate from livestock production, the shift towards sustainable protein sources is imminent and vital to the recovery of our planet. Crickets have been identified as a fundamental food solution thanks to their unique physiological and biological features that lead to an extremely high feed-conversion ratio. Crickets conserve huge amounts of valuable environmental resources and generate optimal nutritional benefits for the consumer, while also supporting circular food systems by reducing the amount of organic food waste.
Ensuring the source of your cricket protein is from a well-governed, sustainable farm is vitally important, and C9 Protein has this at front of mind when developing the future of food through innovative products that utilise the power of crickets. C9 Protein’s crickets are raised responsibly and fed an organic, nutrient rich diet – keeping both the health of the planet and your body at the centre of our vision.
We’re curious about how you choose to use your cricket powder, and we look forward to seeing your culinary creations via social media @C9Protein. By choosing to include crickets in your diet, you’re saving the world one mouthful at a time!
Amy Jonson is a nutritionist and health-focused writer, with a holistic approach to health by focusing on the mind, body and lifestyle as an intricately connected whole. Amy is passionate about education and empowerment by working with social enterprises and entrepreneurs to share their healthful message to educate, empower and inspire others.
Jordan Epstein is the co-founder of C9 Protein and has a vision for the future of food through highly sustainable & regenerative agricultural practices. With a background in Aerospace Engineering and Physics, Jordan is determined to support HumanKIND in saving their current planet before turning to the next frontier of Space.