After testing various commercial edible insects and invertebrates, a group of researchers came to the conclusion that crickets can boast 75% of the antioxidant power of fresh orange juice while the fat in the silkworm boasts a comparable antioxidant power to twice that of olive oil.
This is the comforting data that emphasizes even more how edible insects and arthropods can represent a solution to world hunger or can still lead to a lower level of exploitation of fields for cultivation. According to Mauro Serafini, who is the main author of the study published in Frontiers in Nutrition, there are already 2 billion people in the world who regularly eat insects but “the rest of us will need more encouragement.”
The researcher naturally refers in particular to western populations, substantially those in Europe and North America, for which insects and other “strange” arthropods do not represent a habit in the diet. The researchers found that the highest values of antioxidant capacity were present in the water-soluble extracts of grasshoppers, silkworms and crickets. Negligible values were instead represented by extracts of cicadas, aquatic insects, black tarantulas and black scorpions.
However, the antioxidant capacities of insects also depend on compounds that are still unknown, as Serafini himself underlines, since the quantity of polyphenols present in the body of insects is in any case much smaller than that present in orange juice. And the scientist predicts that, in the future, we can also modify the dietary regimes of the insects raised to increase or in any case change the level and quality of antioxidants for human beings for the better.