Don't let eating insects bug you
Hey, if bugs make good snacks for Jessica Biel (she ate a chocolate-covered cricket on "The Jay Leno Show") and Angelina Jolie's kids ("Here in Cambodia, my boys love crickets. It's their favorite thing ... they eat them like Doritos") well, maybe you should give insects and arachnids a try, too.
More than 1,400 species are enjoyed by millions of your fellow Earthlings. Tarantulas, scorpions (fangs and stingers removed), bamboo worms, grasshoppers and water bugs are an everyday part the diet -- and an important source of nutrients -- in many cultures. And if these critters are commercially raised so they're pesticide- and germ-free (no picking them out of the local field), you'll get nutrition and flavor. In China, bee larvae and fried silkworm are considered delicacies, and they deliver a good dose of copper, iron, riboflavin, thiamin and zinc. Water bugs have four times the iron of beef. A three-and-a-half ounce portion of caterpillars delivers 350 calories and a bit more protein than the same amount of chicken. When you compare hamburger, which is 18 percent protein and 18 percent or more saturated fat, to cooked grasshopper, which is 60 percent protein and 6 percent unsaturated fat, grasshopper wins. Plus, it has a nutty crunch. Scorpions taste like crab.
And if you think you've never eaten a bug, think again. In our mass-produced food world, everything from spices to canned soups has "allowable" insect content, set by the Food and Drug Administration. So next time someone offers you a grasshopper taco or a dark-chocolate-covered ant, go for it!
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.RealAge.com.