Nutritional Value & Health benefits of termites (Health benefits of Aku). Health benefits of Esunsun…Benefits of eating termites


We are in rainy season, also in the season of edible termites. There’s a need to know more about this insects and it’s nutritional value to health.

Macrotermes bellicosus is a species of
Macrotermes. It is the largest termite known, with queens measuring about 4.2 inches (110 mm) long, workers about 0.14 in (3.6 mm) and soldiers are slightly larger.

Bellicosus means “combative” in Latin. The species is a member of a genus indigenous to Africa and South-East Asia.

Macrotermes bellicosus are known to the Igbos as Aku; to the Hausa as Khiyea; Esusun in Yoruba ; and Ebu in Annang.

In 🇳🇬Nigeria, termites are usually roasted and eaten as food, mostly during the rainy season.

Nutritional Value & Health benefits of termites (Health benefits of Aku or esunsun).

Recent studies suggest that, in addition to their ecological importance , termites are a source of medicinal and food resources to various human populations in various locations of the world, showing their potential for being used as an alternative protein source in human or livestock diets, as well as a source for new medicines.

🇳🇬Nigerian researchers have determined the nutrient composition and the toxicant level of the commonly eaten termites (Macrotermes bellicosus) castes in Niger-Delta region of Nigeria.

The study titled “Evaluation of Nutritional Value of Termites (Macrotermes bellicosus): Soldiers, Workers, and Queen in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria” was published in International Journal of Food Nutrition and Safety.

Nutritional Value & Health benefits of termites (Health benefits of Aku)
The Nutritional Value & Health benefits of termites are numerous

The researchers include: A. I. Ntukuyoh, D. S. Udiong, E. Ikpe, and A. E. Akpa Kpan of the Department of Chemistry, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Queen, soldiers and workers of termites (Macrotermes bellicosus) were analyzed for proximate composition, vitamin, mineral elements and anti-nutrient content.

⏹Marcrotermes bellicosus is rich in protein and lipid, and is high in gross energy content. It is
rich in calcium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin E. It is a good source of antioxidants and is very low in antinutrients.

▶️It can serve as source of animal protein, and its inclusion in locally formulated infant complementary foods can be a promising and worthwhile exercise.

Investigating its protein quality, fatty acid profile and micronutrient bioavailability is needed to confirm its suitability or otherwise as a good source of both protein and micronutrients in infant complementary foods

▶️Macortermes bellicosus constitute a significant component of diet among the people of the Niger-Delta region in Nigeria.

A number of insect and their products are used as food items in some parts of Nigeria and to a large extent eaten as tit bits or exclusively by children.

In assessing the nutritive value or food value of termites, it’s anti-nutrient content, mineral element and lipids characteristics are considered to assess whether termites are nutritive or not.

🔷The insect was very low in antinutritional factors studied. As expected, the levels of phytate, oxalate, saponins and tannins were highly insignificantly small since they are majorly found in foods of plant origin.

The level of trypsin inhibitor is very low and cannot constitute any malabsorption or bioavailability of proteins from other sources.

This article is the intellectual property of NUTRITION LIFE and was adapted by for a wider reach and for public enlightenment.


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