Is Cricket Protein Powder Really a Gut-Friendly Superfood?Reading Time: 5 minutes
In today’s busy world, convenience is king. But maintaining a healthy lifestyle when we’re busy can be challenging. A well-balanced diet is often the first thing sacrificed in the name of convenience.
Sometimes it seems our only option is to eat whatever is quick and hassle-free. Our bodies need full-spectrum nutrition, which is hard to find at the drive-through. Even meal-replacement bars and protein shakes branded as “healthy” often contain groupings of ingredients that fail to provide your body the nourishment it needs.
Because these substitutes aren’t whole foods, they lack the variety of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins necessary to synergistically fuel the body. High-Protein “health” foods are often the worst offenders. These foods often contain processed isolates, concentrates, and other refined forms of extracted protein that are nutritionally incomplete.
Fortunately, there is a complete, high-protein food that’s convenient and easy to consume. And it comes from perhaps the most unlikely of sources… crickets!
Crickets are a complete source of protein that contains everything your body needs to stay healthy and vibrant. And once you realize the benefits and how they can be prepared, you’ll discover they’re not as “gross” as you may first think!
Crickets Are a Nutritionally Complete Superfood
In fact, eating crickets doesn’t have to be icky at all, since they can easily be turned into a fine powder that looks, smells, and tastes about the same as any other protein or food powder on the market.
The biggest difference is that cricket powder (often referred to as cricket protein powder or cricket flour) is still a whole food – unlike many of its counterparts that are primarily highly-processed, food-like substances that are nutritionally incomplete.
Even a hearty New York strip steak or freshly-grilled chicken breast, both of which are high in protein, pale in comparison to the full-spectrum nutrition found in whole crickets. After all, traditional meats are still technically just one part of the animal – two if you count the fat content.
Conversely, whole crickets are roughly equivalent to an entire cow or chicken (meat, fat, bones, ligaments, and all.) Animal bones and ligaments, as you may already know, contain their own unique nutrient profiles that differ from those found in meat and fat.
This is why traditional beef or chicken stock recipes call for steeping these otherwise non-edible animal parts in boiling water for many hours: to extract and infuse their nutrients into a drinkable “bone broth” for use in soups or as a standalone beverage.
But none of this is necessary with crickets, which in powder form are like a steak, vegetables, and bone broth all rolled into one. Ounce for ounce, crickets contain twice the amount of protein as beef. And we’re talking the best kind of protein – containing all nine essential amino acids.
Crickets also contain three times the amount of iron and five times the amount of magnesium as beef, plus many other vital nutrients including vitamin B12 and omega-3s.
Crickets Are Easily Digestible
All these nutritional goodies, including the protein, digest quickly and completely without putting immense strain on the body. Many people have trouble digesting meat, for instance, because it can take many hours for the digestive system to fully break it all down.
But this isn’t the case with cricket protein powder, which is quickly converted into amino acids, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and many other vital nutrients that the body can use quickly.
To put things into perspective, a single cricket, were you to consume it whole, contains a whopping 60-70% pure protein. Beef, on the other hand, contains anywhere between 17-40% protein.
And when converted into powder, the protein composition averages about 50% of its volume, the majority being basic amino acids which serve as fundamental building blocks for creating muscle tissue, hormones, neurotransmitters, metabolic pathways, and pretty much every other function of the human body .
Because they exist in “primitive” form, amino acids absorb directly into the body almost immediately. They skip the digestive regimen that occurs for whole proteins to be broken down by digestive acids and enzymes for the body to use them.
Many people who have trouble digesting meat and other high-protein foods prefer cricket protein powder as a gut-friendly alternative.
One study that looked at eight different varieties of edible insects found that, in general, the protein digestibility of insects like crickets is exceptionally high. None of the insects evaluated had a protein digestibility score below 7%, and some were as high as 96% , further suggesting that crickets are a viable alternative to traditional meat-based foods.
Crickets Help Support a Healthy Gut
Another thing that sets crickets apart regarding their overall nutritional value is a nutrient called chitin, which serves as fuel for the body’s gut microbiome. If you’re at all familiar with probiotics and their role in maintaining healthy digestion, chitin is basically a “prebiotic” that helps to maintain healthy probiotic function. Just like how probiotics help to fuel digestive health, chitin helps to fuel probiotic health while optimizing the digestive process.
By helping microbiota in the digestive tract to flourish, chitin inadvertently helps to protect against pathogenic invasion as well, meaning it plays a crucial role in thwarting chronic disease by providing dietary immune support. Since it’s also a dietary fiber, chitin further helps to promote maximum nutrient absorption.
Besides shellfish and mushrooms, there aren’t any other natural sources of chitin that most people eat on a regular basis. This adds to the uniqueness of crickets, which seem to function as a type of gut-supporting “miracle food” by helping to counter the harmful impact of gut-damaging “anti-nutrients” and other poisons commonly found in processed foods.
Keeping in mind that the gut and brain are profoundly interconnected, cricket consumption can also provide powerful support for the central nervous system. By helping to balance the living organisms that live inside the stomach and small intestine, the nutrient composition of crickets may provide support in the maintenance of healthy inflammation levels, while also helping to boost neurocognitive function .
Crickets are a complete source of protein that contain everything your body needs to stay healthy and vibrant.
Crickets contain twice as much protein as beef, complete with all 9 essential amino acids.
Cricket powder is quickly converted into amino acids, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and many other vital nutrients that the body can use quickly.
The protein digestibility of insects like crickets is exceptionally high.
Cricket powder supports a healthy gut.