– Scientists at the University of Rome made drinks out of ground up insects
– They tested them for health-giving antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E
– Some types had five times as many antioxidants as orange juice
– These can prevent DNA damage which may lead to cancerous tumours forming
Eating ants and other bugs could protect people from developing cancer, according to scientists.
Although not an appetising ingredient of a salad or smoothie, the creepy crawlies may be worth stomaching for their health benefits alone.
Research found some types contain more antioxidants than orange juice in a study which saw them ground down to be mixed into a drink.
Antioxidants, such as vitamins, reduce the development of potentially-dangerous free radicals in the body, the scientists said, protecting against DNA damage.
One researcher said nearly a quarter of people in the world already eat bugs and the rest might do well to overcome their squeamishness and follow suit.
Scientists at the University of Rome ground down various insects including ants, grasshoppers, crickets and silkworm.
They then tested the powder to work out how many antioxidants – compounds such as vitamins A, C and E and beta-carotene – were in them.
Only the soluble parts of the insects were used – their wings and stingers were taken off first – with the view of them being consumed as a drink.
The tests revealed silkworm, African caterpillars and giant cicadas had twice as many antioxidants as olive oil.
And powdered cricket, grasshopper and silkworm had five times as many antioxidants as notoriously nutritious orange juice.
‘Edible insects are an excellent source of protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids, minerals, vitamins and fibre,’ scientist Professor Mauro Serafini said.