By Afolabi Olamiotan
Snails are small shelled creatures that are usually found during raining season especially in swamp area. They are highly nutritious meat that is eaten all round the world, mostly in Africa countries. They are essentially used as part of diets in West Africa countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast e.t.c
Although there are different species of snails which include Periwinkles, garden snail, giant African land snail, Assassin snail, Mystery snail, Roman snail etc. However this article will talk about the Giant African land snails also known as “Achantina Fulica or Gastropoda” which belong to large taxonomic class of invertebrates within the phylum mollusca family.
In the past, the giant Africa land snails use to be considered as pests for causing extensive harm to agricultural plants and crops in its native habitat and also known to be a transmitter of plant infections. However, this animal became one of the the important and popular diet after its health benefits have been discovered. Gastropoda contains essential nutrients that help promotes health status, although unknown to many people. It contains essential vitamin such as Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12, E and Minerals like Selenium, Iron, Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Zinc. Snail meat and water also contains protein, low calories and low cholesterol.
Vitamin A is known to be a fat- soluble vitamin that works as an antioxidant in the body, it helps to promote healthy vision and also help in minimizing inflammation by resisting damage. The vitamin B group ( B1,B2, B6, and B12) are important vitamins that aid the treatment and prevention of diabetes. While vitamin E is essential for skincare and cell renewal, an antioxidant that aids the stabilization of cell membrane. This vitamin (E) also protects the lungs from oxidative damages particularly from environmental pollutants.
Selenium (50% daily value present in snail meats) , a vital mineral needed by the body to tackle deadly heart illness and cancer is present in snail meat, this aids the regulation of thyroid hormones and protects the body against various illnesses and chronic ailments. Selenium works with vitamin E as a powerful antioxidant in the body that aids the prevention of tissue aging, it also aids in the prevention and treatment of asthma and also boosts the immune system.
Achantina Fulisca meat prevents Anemia because it is a good source of Iron, it provides 22% of recommended daily value of iron. Anemia which occur as a result of Iron deficiency in the body leading to symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, headache, dizziness and shortness of breath. Iron rich food like snail also play other roles in the body, including the regulation of body temperature and for producing hemoglobin (the protein in the red blood cell that transport oxygen to all parts of the body). Therefore eating snail meat will help prevent or reduce some the symptoms of anemia and also supply the body body some amounts of Iron it needs.
It is a good source of Phosphorus with about 27% of daily recommended intake. Phosphorus which is an essential mineral for gene transcription and maintaining a balanced PH in extra cellular fluid, it help in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, DNA synthesis, calcium absorption and also support healthy teeth and gums.
The meat and water from Gastropoda is also good for bone health due to its calcium and phosphorus content. The two minerals help strengthen the bones and teeth, increase bone density which prevent brittleness. The meat is highly recommended for those suffering from osteoporosis (a condition that is characterized by soft and brittle bones).
Gastropoda water and meat prevent and reduce high blood pressure and stroke. It decreases blood pressure which is a risk factor of stroke due to the presence of magnesium . A mineral that helps relax the blood vessels, calm the brain, heart regulation, fat synthesis, muscle contraction and relaxation, cardiac activities and bone metabolism. When the blood pressure is reduced then the risk of having stroke is also reduced. Therefore, it is advisable to eat snail meats or drink snail water to prevent stroke.
Omega 3 fatty acids is also present in this snail meat and water, omega 3 fatty acids aids the prevention of cardiovascular disease and stroke, it is important in the treatment of lupus, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis.
For immune health, snail meat help enhance immunity due to its zinc content (with about 11% of daily value needed by the body), a mineral which plays an important role in the body by making up the structure of various proteins and enzymes. Since also help with cell growth, healthy cell development and a range of other processes your cells and tissues need to work properly.
Another awesome health benefits of this snail meats unknown to people is the protein content with about 16.1g of 100g daily value of protein, which is even higher than the protein content in beef (14g). Protein is essentially needed in the body for the repair of dead cells, body tissues including the skin, hair, muscle, and bone. Protein is also important for blood clotting, immune system responses, hormones and enzymes. Snail meat contains low calories, no carbohydrates; it is sugar and fat free. That is snail diet help control blood sugar, lowers the incidence of Type 2 diabetes and also aids weight loss.
In summary, Achantina Fulisca meat or water is highly recommended for men, women, young and old for the following health benefits:
To enhance immunity
Improve heart health
To beautify the skin
Strengthen the teeth and bones
To prevent cardiovascular disease
To support weight loss
Prevention of Anemia
Promotes healthy vision