Insects do not have an internal skeleton. Their exoskeleton, which is rigid and holds their body together, is made of chitin.
Because it is rigid and hard, insects must shed their exoskeletons as they grow since it does not grow with them. Right after an insect molts, it is soft and vulnerable until the chitin hardens and becomes their armor once again.
Where human consumption is concerned, chitin is a valuable prebiotic fiber that can easily be added to your diet. There are many reasons to do so.
Chitin is Healthy
Chitin is a valuable prebiotic fiber.
Probably the most discussed benefits of chitin are in gut microbiology. Prebiotics are nutrition for probiotics and chitin is a good source. In a simple sense, prebiotics promotes good colonic microflora while hindering the growth of the bad microflora.
This dietary fiber is beneficial because it takes longer to digest and reaches further into your colon than most other fiber. It is known to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties giving it many potential health benefits.
Research is being done in areas of weight loss, liver and skin health, cholesterol, and more.
How Can I Add Chitin to My Diet?
Adding chitin to your diet is easy, just add edible crickets to your salads, roasted mealworms to your omelettes and use insects powder like cricket powder for baking (make cricket flour), adding to shakes and generally sprinkling it on anything you want.
FUN FACT: Chitin is the second most abundant natural carbohydrate on earth after cellulose.
For More Information…
Snip from NIH –
Cricket chitin has a close similarity to commercial shrimp chitin. This study has demonstrated the ability of probiotic bacteria to break down chitosan, to lower the pH of growth media and thereby inhibit bacterial growth. Cricket-derived chitosan may be a functional prebiotic due to its ability to stimulate the growth of specific beneficial bacteria. Cricket-derived chitosan can help solve gut health in children directly by acting as an antimicrobial substance, or as a prebiotic to nourish probiotic bacteria.
Haworth projection of chitin
Good for You | Good for Our Planet