Snails are largest Mollusk subgroup containing 10,000 species and 400 living families. Globally they are distributed in every habitat, under water and on land. Most aquatic and marine animals are benthic in which few are swimmers.
It encompasses myriad of lifestyles from predators to algae grazers and incredible diversity of form. Usually the shell is coiled but not always in the right handed direction.
An operculum is also present sometimes, a door that fits in opening of coiled valve and shutting animal inside for defense. Some snails have entire shell internal and are covered with skin.
The groups which lack protection of shell such as nudibranches are elaborately colored which assist them to blend with similar colored background and warn predators of noxious taste.
The meat of snail is considered to be high quality food packed with protein and is also a great source of iron. It contains 15% protein, 80% water and 2.4% fat which make it an alternative food for people requiring high protein low fat diet. Snail is rich in essential fatty acids such as linolenic acids and linoleic acids.
An average snail is comprised of 80% water, 15% protein and 2.4% fat. They also contain essential fatty acids, calcium, iron, selenium, magnesium and are a rich source of vitamins E, A, K and B12. However, despite these benefits I could not eat one!
Below are some of the reasons why snail meat is considered a super food and why it is advisable that you should eat snails for your health:
(1) Snails contain Protein
snails do provide a low calorie source of protein (unless you drench them like butter). Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle and also better at filling you up than carbs and fat.
Many people look up to sea food as an easy source of protein but actually you should be aware that snails have more.
We don’t need much selenium in our bodies, but we do need some to keep a healthy immune system and to protect cells against damage and yes, snail also contains selenium.
This is the much-feted, heart-loving fatty acids. Snails also supply a little omega-3 which is good news for your heart. So get some snails today and eat in order to enjoy these benefits.
(4) Presence of Iron
Snails are also a good source of iron, essential for building red blood cells and carrying energy around the body. A lack of iron can lead to extreme fatigue and anaemia.
Snails are a great source of iron which is essential to build red blood cells and for transporting energy throughout the body. The deficiency of iron results in anemia and extreme fatigue.
Iron is a component part of haem groups of carrying oxygen proteins such as myoglobin and haemoglobin and electron carrying mitochondrial protein cytochrome.
Iron has a vital role in coupled oxidations or reductions in such process as oxygen transport or cellular respiration. Iron-sulphur enzymes act as elctrontransferring reactions of mitochondria.
Iron is available in intracellular cytochrome enzyme system with vital role in energy production as well as cellular respiration.
Literally, iron from animal sources could be absorbed more in comparison to vegetables and cereals as the iron from plant sources are complexes with oxalates and phytates in plant. It makes a great source of iron in diet.
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(5) Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is required for production of red blood cells, keeping nervous system healthy and releasing energy from food we eat and processing folic acid. Snails are loaded with vitamin B12.
Often cited as “energy vitamin”, B12 is needed for making red blood cells, keeping the nervous system healthy, releasing energy from the food we eat and processing folic acid and luckily, snails have lots of it.
Snail Image Gallery
Snails are also a good source of magnesium, which our bodies need to maintain a normal blood pressure, strengthen bones and also keep your heart beat regular.
Snails are a great source of magnesium in which bodies are required for maintaining normal blood pressure, regular heartbeat and strengthen bones.
(7) Presence of Selenium
Selenium found in bodies helps to keep immune system healthy and protects cells from damage. Snails contain selenium in it.
(8) Provides Energy
The crude protein content was determined with the use of Soxhlet extraction apparatus to extract crude fat thoroughly from 4 of milled snail sample using petroleum ether in soxhlet method of fat determination.
The fat content weight extracted divided by weight of sample multiplied by 100% gave percent crude fat content. Ash is determined to be incinerating 5 g of milled snail sample at 550 oC overnight in muffle furnace.
Weights after and before ashing are used to calculate per cent content of ash. Drying 2 g of milled snail sample 105 oC for 3 h with the use of thermostatically controlled forced air oven determined moisture content.
Weight difference after and before drying was used for calculating per cent moisture content. The obtained total carbohydrate was 100% by subtracting per cent amounts of crude fat, crude protein, ash and moisture.
Snail sample’s energy value was obtained by multiplying per cent composition of fat, protein and carbohydrate.
Copper is a part of tyrosinase enzyme i.e. essential for melanin pigment formation in body. It is a part of lysyl oxidase molecule and other enzyme systems. Copper has a vital role in promoting normal function of connective tissues of bone.
Snail meat is a great source of copper and is used to combat malformation of bone structure. It stimulates utilization and absorption and synthesis of iron into cytochrome molecules and haemoglobin.
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Above 80 enzymes such as carbonic anhydrase, alcohol dehydrogenase, RNA and DNA polymerases and carboxypeptidase are considered to require zinc. The high concentrations of zinc in sperm cells, prostate gland and eyes where it is assumed to play vital function and all tissues of body.
Zinc with vitamin A has a role in night vision and dark adaptation. People consume snail meat for curing eye problems.
About ninety nine per cent of calcium is present in teeth and bones and one percent is found in body fluids and soft tissues. Calcium is found abundantly in A. achatina.
Calcium is required for normal blood clotting. Snail meat fluid is used for stopping bleeding from cuts. The lower blood calcium level promotes nervous tissue irritability and low calcium level causes convulsion. Calcium depress nerve irritability.
Snail is a great source of calcium ortho phosphate which is a chemical substrate used to cure kidney diseases. The serving size of 200 grams of dried snail in the diet offers daily requirement of calcium to lactating and pregnant women and also teenagers.
(12) Source of Potassium
Potassium is a key intracellular action and with sodium, it has an essential role in regulating water and acid base & electrolyte balance in the body. Basically, potassium is required for lowering both diastolic and systolic blood pressure in people with high and normal blood pressure.
Potassium lowers salt sensitivity which is an independent risk factor causing heart disease. It influence contractility of skeletal and cardiac muscles and affect excitability of nervous tissue.
The deficiency of potassium results in muscular weakness, mental disorientation, increased nervous irritability and cardiac irregularities.
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