Science & Technology
Edible insects are a very good source of iron
November 13, 2016 | 12 comments
Could we all be eating insects in the not-too-distant future ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Candorwien
Suffering from iron deficiency ? Try dining on a few cooked grasshoppers, crickets and buffalo worms.
They might not be the most appetising of foodstuffs, but scientists are looking increasingly toward edible insects as an environmentally friendly way to help feed the world's ever-growing population.
In a recent study, researchers at King's College London studied the nutritional values of edible insects to determine whether, like meat, cooked creepy-crawlies are a good source of iron.
The team began by choosing a selection of four edible insects that are already eaten in some parts of Africa and Asia - grasshoppers, crickets, mealworms and buffalo worms.
Next, they crushed up the insects and used a technique known as spectrophotometry to measure how much iron was actually in them. Crickets came out on top with 12.91mg of iron per 100g.
The researchers then used a different method to work out how much of that iron is likely to be absorbed by the person eating the insects and compared that figure to sirloin beef.
The results indicated that buffalo worms were actually a better source of dietary iron than the beef.
"I was a bit surprised at how well some of the insects did in comparison to the sirloin," said graduate researcher Darja Dobermann from the University of Nottingham.
"I had anticipated that insects would perform better than a plant-source iron but would not have guessed they would be close to the same level as a meat-source iron."
Source: Scientific American
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