If you’ve ever traveled to the markets of Oaxaca or strolled through the streets of Thailand, you’re likely familiar with the sight of vendors hawking crunchy, salty morsels…of insects. Cultures around the world embrace putting bugs on their dinner plates (or at least in their snack jars), but this isn’t something that’s caught on in North America.
That may be about to change. As the physical and environmental cost of growing and raising protein increases, food companies are starting to turn their attention on insects –specifically insects as a sustainable, easy-to-raise source of high-quality protein. But how does this fare for our health?
On this episode, Andrea sits down with Dr. Tiffany Weir, an Associate Professor at Colorado State University in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. As a member of the CSU faculty, she teaches classes on fermentation microbiology, probiotics, and personalized nutrition.
She also runs an active research program that explores the impact of diet on the gut microbiota for prevention of chronic disease — that’s where the crickets come in. One of her latest projects examined what happened to the microbiome when participants ate crickets. Don’t worry — they were hidden in muffins, not hopping around on the green beans.
On this show, Andrea and Tiffany discuss her work, including how the same microbes interact in different environments and how our microbiomes impact cardiovascular health. Plus, Dr. Weir tells us the answer to the question, “is eating insects good for gut health?”
On this show, you’ll learn:
- How Dr. Tiffany Weir got interested in gut microbes (1:54)
- Human vs. plant complexity (2:54)
- What the research says about microbes interacting in different environments (4:09)
- How the gut microbiota is related to cardiovascular disease (8:52)
- How fermentation of plant foods affect the bioavailability of phytochemicals (11:30)
- What are functional foods? (17:19)
- Wild foods vs. farmed foods (19:34)
- Crickets and the microbiome (21:40)
- How crickets alter the microbiota (25:48)
- What is next for Dr. Weir’s research? (29:54)
Tune in on iTunes here:
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