Ants get cancer

New study: Ant and insect consumption protects against cancer

Reduced cancer risk from consuming insects?

Will we eat ants and other insects in the future to protect ourselves from cancer? Researchers have now found that ants, grasshoppers, crickets and other insects contain antioxidants that can reduce the risk of cancer.

The latest study by the University of Teramo found that some insects contain important antioxidants that can protect against the development of cancer. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Frontiers in Nutrition".

What are Free Radicals?

So-called antioxidants are important for reducing chemical reactions in the body that produce free radicals that are believed to increase the risk of cancer. Free radicals have also been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Antioxidants are found in insects and a number of different foods, including fruits and vegetables. Food experts have long been of the opinion that consumers in Western countries must start including insects in their diet in the coming decades.

Insects provide protein, fatty acids, minerals, vitamins and fiber

The researchers found that after grinding, many insects had multiple concentrations of the antioxidants found in orange juice or olive oil, two of the most commonly recommended substances for limiting free radicals. Water-soluble extracts from grasshoppers, silkworms, and crickets had the highest levels of antioxidants. The concentration was five times higher than in fresh orange juice. The authors of the study report that grasshoppers, black ants and mealworms contain the highest levels of polyphenols with particular antioxidant potential. Fat-soluble extracts from silkworms and giant leafhoppers had twice the antioxidant properties of olive oil. The results show that edible insects are an excellent source of protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Eating habits should be adjusted

At least two billion people, a quarter of the world's population, regularly consume insects, the researchers report. This should also motivate people in western countries to change their diet. Eating habits should be adjusted to increase antioxidant levels. For the new study, the researchers examined a number of commercially available edible insects and invertebrates to determine their antioxidant activity. Inedible parts such as wings and spines were removed, then the insects were ground up and prepared for consumption. (as)

Author and source information

This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.

  • Carla Di Mattia, Natalia Battista, Giampiero Sacchetti, Mauro Serafini: Antioxidant Activities in vitro of Water and Liposoluble Extracts Obtained by Different Species of Edible Insects and Invertebrates, in Frontiers in Nutrition (accessed: July 15, 2019), Frontiers in Nutrition

Important NOTE:
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.