I researched and realized that there are edible snails, and communities around the world consume them. In countries like Germany, Portugal, and France, snails are a delicacy. Many views snail only as small mollusks that wreak havoc in their gardens. Others see snails as small animals that crawl everywhere after rains. However, I took the time to research snails and find out that they have a wide range of health benefits.
To know more about other types of snails such as the African Snail, check out Can people get sick from handling African snails? All you need to know about African snails and your health and Can African Snails be Pets? All You Need to Know About the Giant African Land Snail.
Are there Health Benefits of Eating Snails?
Nutrition Benefits. Eating snails provide a wide range of nutrition benefits as it contains proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and several minerals.
The protein content of snails is the same as that found in beef and pork. However, snails have a much lower content of fat than pork and beef. Snail protein is of high quality since it contains all the necessary amino acids needed by the body.
In addition, snails are also rich in minerals like iron and calcium, Vitamins A, and many other minerals such as sodium. Vitamins A is essential for normal vision, strengthening of the immune system, and normal reproduction. Vitamin A is also needed in the normal functioning of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.
Apart from vitamin A, snails also contain vitamin E, vitamin B1, B3, B6, and B12. Vitamin E act as an antioxidant, and then Vitamin B1, B3, B6, and Vitamin B12 are essential vitamins that are needed to prevent and control diabetes.
Snail mucus is used to treat and manage inflamed pimples. In developed countries, they keep many snails used in snails slime processing by use of advanced technology. Snail slime is used as the base material for beauty products. It is also used to regenerate the skin and facial wrinkles.
Snail also contains choline. This is a water-soluble vitamin and is an important Vitamin that is often classified in the same group with Vitamin B. Functions of Choline are many and include; being a structural part of the cell membrane, one of the substances that make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and part of the methyl group needed by several processes in the body.
Snail Meat carries high levels of Magnesium. The vital role played by Magnesium in the body is to enable enzymatic reactions. Some of these enzymatic reactions include the synthesis of fats, proteins, and nucleic acids of different cells, muscle contraction and relaxation, neurological activities, Heart activity, and bone metabolism.
Snail Contains High levels of selenium. Selenium is an essential mineral and nutrient needed in the body to fight different diseases, especially cancer and heart disease. Selenium is synergistic with vitamin E, meaning both works very strong and in equal measure. Selenium and Vitamin E are strong antioxidants that help to prevent the aging and hardening of tissues through oxidation.
Selenium is vital in many body functions. It is found in all cells of the body organs, mainly in the kidneys, liver, spleen, pancreas, and testes. Note that half of the selenium in the body is mostly concentrated in the testicles and vas deferens or around the prostate gland in men.
Snail meat also has high levels of phosphorus. The benefits of phosphorus are rated second to the total content of calcium in the human body. Phosphorus has many functions, but the main ones are the conduit of energy for the metabolism of fats and starches, Ensuring teeth and gums are healthy, synthesis of DNA, and helping in absorption of calcium.
Iron is a necessity in the production of red blood cells, which enable the transportation of oxygen throughout the body.
Calcium is used in the body to keep bones and teeth strong.
Snails contain Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. This means the human body can acquire the required calories from Omega-6 fatty acids required each day if one eats snails on a daily basis.
There are many benefits of consuming Omega-3 daily have many benefits provided one does not take it in excess. Some of the benefits are:
1. Enable in the development of the brain and memory of infants – Omega-3 from Snails is essential in brain health and the development of cell membranes of the neurological system.
2. Controlling and lowering cholesterol levels – Though Omega-3 from Snails help in dealing with cholesterol levels, it should be noted that eating snails in large quantity may not help because snails contain a high quantity of cholesterol.
3. Prevent heart disease – Omega-3 from snails makes the arterial organs more elastic hence helping in preventing heart diseases, blood pressure, or stroke.
4. Healthy and intelligent fetus – Expectant mothers who consume Omega-3, especially from snails, give birth to babies who are healthy and intelligent. The quality of milk of the mother is also of high quality.
Health eyes with good vision – Omega-3 is of great importance in the health of the eye. Therefore, consuming Snails enables improvement of eye health. https://agric4profits.com/15-health-benefits-snail-achatinoidea-reasons-to-eat-snails/
In the past, snails were believed to cure almost everything by some communities. It was therefore used to cure a wide range of diseases such as tuberculosis and common cold, and cough.
Today, snails are consumed to do away with hunger, just like any other food. However, snails are still consumed for a number of health benefits. Some of these benefits are:
1. Management of Anemia – Iron deficient anemia manifests with symptoms such as fatigue, pale skin, weakness, chest pain, dizziness, headaches, and shortness of breath. Eating snails help in managing these symptoms by treating the underlying cause. This is because it contains iron which is used in the production of more blood cells in the body.
2. Boosting Heart Health – Despite the fact that fish are normally known to be the main source of omega-3 fatty acids, snails are a good source too. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of heart disease by improving its health. Omega-3s also reduce blood clotting changes, help manage blood pressure by lowering it and keep the heartbeat steady.
3. Strengthening of bones and teeth – Lack of calcium may lead to diseases such as osteoporosis, osteopenia, and hypocalcemia. Snail is a good source of calcium. Therefore, eating snails provide calcium which strengthens bones and teeth and enables good functioning of muscles of different organs.
Risks of Eating Snails
Risks of eating snails come from how you prepare them, not directly from the snails themselves. However, some snails, especially certain marine snails, are toxic to consume. It is therefore advisable to be aware of safe snails to consume.
It should, however, be noted that eating even consumable snails can be risky to our health. Some of these risks are:
1. Heart Problems.
Although snails are low-fat protein, cooking them in buttery sauces makes them gain back that fat. Some of the fats are stored in the walls of the arteries, which carry oxygenated blood from the heart.
Arteries being thin tubes may block due to continued accumulation of fat. Blockage of blood arteries may lead to a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, Eating fat-rich sauces together with snails should be avoided because it may lead to heart conditions and other health problems. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-snails#1
2. Rat Lungworm Disease.
Although snails are considered food in many parts of the world, eating raw snail meat, and wild snails should be avoided.
Rat lungworm is a parasite that is found in rat feces, and it gets into snails when they come in contact. If by mistake one eats raw snail with this parasite, he/she gets infected.
People who eat snails are therefore advised to cook their meat thoroughly before eating.
This condition is caused by a parasite known as schistosomes which live in certain types of freshwater snails. These freshwater snails release this parasite in water hence infecting whoever drinks that water. One may also get infected by consuming uncooked freshwater snail meat. https://www.curejoy.com/content/diseases-caused-by-snails/
It is a condition where the membrane around the brain and spinal code get swollen. Eating Giant African Snails may lead to infection by lungworm, subsequently leading to meningitis due to the effects it has on the brain.
Reasons why Consumption of Snails Is Still Low
Despite the nutritional and health benefits of eating snails, their consumption is still meager worldwide. The main reasons for the low consumption of snails are mostly due to the culture of different communities, lack of knowledge about its benefits, and natural perceptions many people have towards them.
Due to such reasons, many farmers are afraid to invest in snail farming, and those who have risked keeping snails mostly use them as food for poultry, pigs, and fish.
However, we encourage more people to consume snail meat due to its benefit and also invest in snail farming. Those with knowledge about snails should ensure more people worldwide get this information to ensure food security.