Could eating ants be the new superfood?

Eating AntsCC: Alexas_photos at PIxabay

Although eating ants isn’t a palatable thought to many people in the West, new research suggests that it could prevent cancer. Acting as powerful antioxidants, ants, crickets, and silkworms may hold the key to protecting your health. Before you rush out to your yard, let’s explore the study in question.

What does the research say?

The research comes from the University of Teramo in Italy. It examined the antioxidant levels in insects such as ants, silkworms, and crickets.

If you’ve never considered eating insects, the findings may come as a surprise. Black ants and mealworms contain surprisingly high numbers of polyphenols. Additionally, African Caterpillar fat carries twice the antioxidant power of olive oil.

The researchers were also delighted by the way eating insects has a low environmental impact. They don’t require excessive amounts of fuel or water, which means they’re good for the environment too.

Why are antioxidants important?

Antioxidants combat free radicals. As unstable atoms that harm your body’s cells, free radicals act as a cause of cancer. One of the biggest sources we face in modern society is pollution. Even if you live in a rural area, there’s a strong chance you’re encountering lots of free radicals each day.

In addition to increasing your risk of cancer, free radicals accelerate the aging process and make heart disease more likely. By adding more antioxidants to your diet, you’re providing your body with a buffer against these harmful compounds. Although they’re unlikely to protect you against all types of cancer, they do significantly lower your risk factors.

Is it really necessary to eat ants?

Also known as entomophagy, eating insects is a common practice worldwide. While some countries rely on them as a source of protein during food shortages, others provide them as a delicacy. If you’ve ever traveled to the tourist traps of the Far East, you may recall street vendors selling them to experiencing-hunting tourists.

If you want to add antioxidants to your diet, ants aren’t your only source. Many nutritionists recommend eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Berries are particularly advantageous, as is olive oil, coconut oil, and almonds. If you love drinking smoothies, you can add antioxidant-rich boosters to them. For example, chia seeds and wheatgrass.

So, if you’re not ready to munch on ants just yet, don’t panic. Although this research proves that they’re more useful than they are gross, it doesn’t name them as a sole source of antioxidants. Try filling yourself with berries and almonds instead.


About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.