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10 Bugs You Should Allow To Bite You (Because of Health benefits)

Updated on August 27, 2014
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This might come as a surprise to you but the nutritional value of some bugs is hard to beat.

Worms contain some of the highest concentrations of proteins, iron, and healthy polyunsaturated fats; and health experts are actually encouraging people to start thinking of bugs as food.

Sure some insect bites can be harmful but when you look at the bigger picture, there’s more to benefit from insects than one would assume; so the next time you come across bugs in your backyard, consider making soup.

This is not just an idle hypothesis: the human population is continuing to inch closer to 8 billion people and when we get to that number, food will start to get scarce.

A number of experts have suggested that soon we will have no choice but to eat insects- an idea many people find utterly preposterous.

Students from McGill University in Montreal recently underscored this claim by winning the 2013 Hult Price for producing high-protein flour made from insects.

The $1 million Hult Price awarded the students seed money to start working on what they call Power Flour. Team captain Mohammed Ashour told ABC News they plan to start with grasshoppers.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN published a report earlier this year where the organization stated the health benefits of sustaining a diet that’s supplemented by insects; not to mention the environmental benefits.

This insect-diet, also known as entomophagy, includes a list of insects that may soon be on your dinner plate. If these insects are gnawing at your backyard, do what some people are doing; take advantage of their nutritional value and cook them.

1. Termites

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Termites are notorious for eating away at floorboards but the folks in South America and Africa don’t stress about it; they handle they fry, sun-dry, smoke or steam them to make a balanced diet.

One species of termites called Syntermes aculeosus contains 64 percent protein.

You could also get nutrients such as calcium, fatty acids, amino acids and iron from these insects.

2. Earthworms

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In some areas if you leave a little child out on the farm for a few minutes you could find them putting earthworms in the mouth. While it’s not advisable to feed live worms to little children, the health benefits can be useful to everyone.

Earthworms are full of iron and protein. There’s a restaurant in Croatia where you’ll find cooked earthworms on the menu. Provided they are not feral worms, they should be perfectly healthy to eat.

3. Chapulines

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These are grasshoppers of the genus sphenarium and are very popular in southern Mexico. They’re usually served roasted, which makes them crunchy, and can be flavored with lime juice, salt, garlic or with dried chili powder.

Chapulines are rich in protein and in fact some people have suggested that the grasshoppers may contain as much as 70 percent protein.

Eating sphenarium grasshoppers has one other benefit; it’s a healthier alternative to spraying pesticides in plantations such as those of alfalfa. This of course is a greener solution to controlling bugs because it doesn’t cause the problems associated with using pesticides.

4. Bee Larvae

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It is priced in many cultures as a healthy and tasty morsel; perhaps because of the royal jelly, the pollen and honey. When sautéed in butter, the larvae tastes a lot like mushroomy bacon. Ground bees have been used as a remedy for sore throats for centuries in China.

5. Mopane Caterpillar

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It may have a threatening name but the emperor moth is very edible in its larval state. They are widespread throughout the southern part of Africa where women and children harvest the insects and sell them.

The larva is boiled in salt water and then sun-dried- which makes it last for months without refrigeration. Because they last so long in good condition, the insects can be a great source of nutrition during lean times.

When compared to beef, the iron content in mopane caterpillars is pretty impressive: beef packs 6mg of iron per 100 grams of dry weight but mopane caterpillars contain up to 31mg of iron in the same 100 grams.

6. Witchetty Grub

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This is actually a staple food among the aboriginal people of Australia. The grubs can be cooked in hot coals, where the skin develops that crisp texture found in chicken.

Alternatively they can be eaten raw- they taste a lot like almonds. Witchetty grubs contain oleic acid, which is a healthy monounsaturated fat.

The grubs are usually harvested from underground where they feed off the roots of trees such as back wattle and eucalyptus.

7. Mealworms

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The Dutch raise the larvae of the mealworm beetle for food- both for humans and animals. Mealworms thrive in a temperate climate and they are in fact the only insects consumed in the western world.

They’re nutritional value is not unlike other edible worms: they’re rich in protein, selenium, zinc, iron, copper and sodium; and they contain a healthy amount of polyunsaturated fat.

8. African Palm Weevil

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Palm weevils are a delicacy among quite a number of African tribes where they are gathered from the barks of palm trees. Weevils are easy to pan-fry because of the high fat content in their bodies but they can be eaten raw as well.

According to a report from the Journal of Insect Science, the African palm weevil is a great source of nutrients such as iron, phosphorous and potassium, polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as a number of amino acids a monounsaturated fats.

9. Stink Bugs

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Granted, the name doesn’t exactly scream culinary appeal; but these insects are widely consumed all over Africa, South America and Asia.

Stink bugs give off a noxious smell so they are not usually eaten raw but when soaked in water and sun-dried, or roasted, they make a decent meal and they contain high amounts of healthy nutrients such as potassium, iron, and phosphorus.

10. Brown House Crickets

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They can grow up to almost two inches in length and can be roast-dried, or if you prefer, pull the wings out and fry them. They are rich in protein and make an interesting snack when you spear one with a toothpick and dunk it in chocolate.

Most people prefer to cook them though; so don’t go raw-dunking unless you’re sure about it. They are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

So Why Eat Insects?

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Several reasons actually:

· Nutrition: caterpillars for instance have more protein and iron than the same quantity of beef

· Over 1,000 varieties of insects are edible, so surely there should be something for everyone

· Wahaca, the British-Mexican restaurant has already started selling chili-fried grasshoppers

· They are more sustainable- mealworms live on waste what chaff as opposed to other meat sources which need guzzling grain

· The UN Food and Agriculture Organization encourages it

· A distinct lack of emotional attachment- unless of course you were seriously taken with a bug’s life

The Eat Or Die Game

If you had to eat one of the above insects which one would you most likely eat?

See results

How To Eat A Giant Larva

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    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      This hub is very interesting - gross, but interesting :). Boy, I'd have to be in a bad way to make myself eat insects, but my son has actually tried crickets in a Science class and said they weren't bad. Voted up and interesting.

    • sangre profile image

      Sp Greaney 2 years ago from Ireland

      There is no way you would get me to eat bugs. But it was interesting to find out that there are bugs out there that people can eat if they wanted to.

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 2 years ago from Central United States of America

      Fantastic writing with amazing informative value deluxe! It was also grossly horrible, and the video made my stomach turn - before I started laughing and churning at the same time! Your facts are right on - so we should perhaps practice preparing this form of protein before we HAVE to. Really enjoyed your uniquely presented hub!

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