When Chapul revolutionized the protein bar market in 2014 with its first Chapul bars, it knew cricket flour was good for the environment and a solid protein source. Since that time, the market for insect-based protein has boomed, and with it so has the research into its health benefits. Whether you're looking for muscle gains, a healthy heart, gut or mind, B-12 or iron, our new line of Chapul cricket flours is not only highly sustainable, it's packed with the nutrition you need to operate at your very best. Here are five evidenced-based reasons we think Chapul cricket flour should be part of your food regimen.
Cricket flour is a complete protein (23g per serving)
Like whey protein supplements, cricket flour is considered a complete protein because it has all the essential amino acids, yet it’s only in the past few years that scientists have begun exploring its potential as an alternative protein source. Emerging research suggests that cricket flour can work as a replacement for traditional protein supplements, or even leveraged as a unique complement. It has the robust amino acid profile—and enough leucine—necessary to build muscle. Researchers have also recently discovered that the amino acids from insect protein powder release more slowly into the bloodstream, which helps reduce the breakdown of muscle proteins.
Cricket flour has heart-healthy fatty acids
Most Americans consume way too much unhealthy fat, especially the kind that leads to increased inflammation. Here, nutritionists tend focus on the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. It’s estimated that the typical Western diet leans way too heavily on omega-6, hovering around 15:1. A lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is seen as more favorable, because that indicates a higher amount of omega-3s, which are considered to be anti-inflammatory. Salmon and sardines are in high demand these days in part due to their high quality fatty acids and low omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. While cricket flour does not have the same amount of DHA as sardines, it has about the same omega-6 to omega-3 ratio: 2:2 : 1.
Cricket flour is high in bioavailable iron (15% rda)
Embedded in compounds known as hemoglobin, iron helps transport oxygen from the blood in the lungs to tissues elsewhere in the body. As myoglobin, iron also receives and stores oxygen in muscle cells to be used for energy there. When iron demand outstrips supply, individuals fall into a state known as anemia, affecting the brain, immune system, exercise and work performance, and even the ability to regulate the body's temperature. Our article on the iron in cricket flour summarized the results from recent research, which showed insect iron to have a higher solubility than sirloin. One serving of Chapul’s cricket flour contains 15% of the daily recommended intake for iron.
Cricket flour is high in Vitamin B-12 (326% rda)
According to some studies, up to 40% of the U.S. population might be deficient in Vitamin B-12. This is a huge problem, because it’s Vitamin B-12 that enables the body to make use of amino acids and fatty acids. Also referred to as cobalamin, B-12 is absolutely crucial for making all of these pieces fit together, helping to metabolize the components that synthesize tissues. And yet we can only get this important vitamin from exogenous sources, such as fish...and insects. One serving of cricket flour has 326% of the daily recommended intake.
Cricket flour has fiber that’s healthy for your gut and brain
As scientists have begun focusing more on how diet impacts the microbiome, it’s becoming clear that having a diverse and resilient gut is one of the most important ways we can improve our overall health. Aside from encouraging diversity in the microbiome, non-digestible fiber is used by microbiota to synthesize butyrate, an important source of energy in mitochondria. A healthy population of butyrate-synthesizing microbiota in the gut has also been linked to reduced anxiety, lower stress, and overall better cognition.
The fiber in cricket flour is actually composed of chitin and chitosan, a polyamino saccharide that’s found in crustacea, mollusks, and insects, but also bacteria and fungi. This form of non-digestible fiber is unique because it comes from the cricket’s hard shell, or exoskeleton.