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Gut health could benefit from consuming crickets - study
Deep-fried insects at a stall in Bangkok, Thailand. Image © Takoradee (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Research explores human health effects from eating insects

Eating crickets could benefit human gut health and reduce inflammation in the body, according to a new study.

Over two billion people worldwide regularly consume insects, but there has been little research on the health effects.

In a small pilot study, researchers took blood and stool samples from 20 healthy men and women, after they had eaten either a control breakfast or one containing 25g of cricket meal for periods of two weeks.

Findings published in the journal Scientific Reports suggest that, after eating the cricket diet, participants had increased levels of a metabolic enzyme associated with gut health. Meanwhile, there was a decrease in TNF-alpha, an inflammatory protein in the blood that has been linked with other measures of wellbeing such as depression and cancer.

There was also an abundance in beneficial gut bacteria such as Bifidobacterium animalis - a strain that is associated with improved gastrointestinal function and other health measures.

Researchers say further, larger studies are needed to replicate these findings and shed more light on how crickets may contribute to gut health.

Lead author Valerie Stull commented: “This study is important because insects represent a novel component in Western diets and their health effects in human populations haven’t really been studied.

“With what we now know about the gut microbiota and its relationship to human health, it’s important to establish how a novel food might affect gut microbial populations. We found that cricket consumption may actually offer benefits beyond nutrition.”

She added: “This very small study shows that this is something worth looking at in the future when promoting insects as a sustainable food source.”

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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”