So here we are again, with another meal you probably never knew has a lot of health benefits - the snail diet. As usual, we will briefly introduce the animal, its life cycle and science surrounding time, how you catch and process them for meal and then we round up by discussing the potentials they have towards providing health benefits to mankind.
You have a lot to learn here so, kindly get a chair, a bottle of chill water, juice or wine and relax while I take you through this discourse. Yeah I know, the meat below is just too appetising and you wish you were already pouncing on it. Dont worry after this article, you go look for it. Lol. Let's start shall we!
Snails are unique creatures in their own way, slow and steady, they dont have much predators after them due to their hardened shell that offers them protection. Most snails have a very hardened shell that is made up of bicarbonate and calcium. This acts as a protection for them against predators. As you already know, they are one of the slowest creatures on planet earth. Those that don't have a shell covering them are generally referred to as slugs
Kingdom: - Animalia
Phylum: - Mollusca
Class: - Gastropoda
Snails generally are found in moist places and they are herbivorous animals, meaning that they feed mostly on plants using a special structure known as the radulae.
They are majorly active at night or during the day if rains falls. So you don't get to see them move on dry areas all the time. Most of the species do hibernate during dry seasons and they have a unique way of doing this.
During dry seasons or draught, they use a special type of dried mucous known as epiphragm to close or seal their entrance so that they are not affected by the unfavourable environmental condition. They then attach themselves like a glue to any place that is shady. So you looking at them, you may probably think they are dead.. Lol. Small creatures and their little brain.
Guess what, snails do not have the ability of absorbing any coloured pigment. What this means is that, the content of their food determines the colour of their faeces.
For example, a snail that feeds on a white paper will release white excreta while a snail that feeds on green leaf will produce green excreta, this is unlike we humans and other animals that have the ability of absorbing some light spectra. This is why, their excreta has been used in the production of some coloured carpets.
Over here in Africa, the most common ones are the Achatina fulica. They grow very big in size and suitable enough for consumption as food. Their movement is usually supported by a slime which has a lot therapeutic powers, you will find out about this later, relax and let's continue.
Preparation of snail meal
The preparation of snails is just as normal as the meats you buy in market, the major difference is in the area of cutting out the real fleshy part of the snail and washing it throughly to remove slime. Cleaning the snail is the major area where the hardwork lies, once it's properly done, the rest is history.
To remove the slime, you could either use salt, lime, alum, 'garri' (local food product in Nigeria that is made from cassava) or lemon. For full details on how this is done read this article.
After removing the slime, you could then decide on how you want to prepare the meat, either you fry it or you cook it and add your spices just the way you prepare your meats. Taste really nice when fried. For me, I do fry rather than just cooking only. So when you fry them, they look much deeper and darker in colour like that picture below.
Health benefits of snail meal
An average snail is comprised of 80% water, 15% protein and 2.4% fat. They contain essential fatty acids, calcium, iron, selenium, magnesium and are a rich source of vitamins E, A, K and B12.
Generally, snails contains high concentrations of vitamin E and selenium which are antioxidants. They counter the reactions of active oxygen and nitrogen radicals that damage cells in the body. They reduce the level of these radicals or oxidants to the normal physiological level.
There antioxidant activity results to increase or boost in the immune system of the body to fight infections against disease causing agents or pathogens. Not only do they have antioxidants power, they always possess anti-inflammatory potential by blocking pathways that could lead to inflammation.
The other constituent like calcium is essential to human body for strong bone development and also activation of many biological pathways or release of insulin from the pancreas. Iron and vitamin B12 are both needed for red blood cell production and transportation and it's also involved in the biological processes that produce energy in our body system.
Anytime the body store of iron is low, the first sign is usually fatigue and weakness. So whenever you are always feeling tired and fatigued, and probably don't have the cash to spend on medics, worry less, a snail diet got you covered on that. (not a medical advice, take note).
Natural Remedies possible with snail
Well not only do they offer benefit as meal, they also have other diverse use while alive. Did you know that the slime of a snail can be used to reduce scaring, boost healing process one the skin and make it smoother. Well now you know. Let's find out why this is possible with such a creature.
It has been established that the slime of most snails contains antibiotics (agents that kill germs), allantoin (a chemical that has moisturising effect on the skin when applied), glycolic acid, collagen and elastin. With all this contents, the slime when applied over an injured skin, it's able regenerate, repair and minimize scaring of the skin after healing.
In some practices or places rather, you pay to get skin or face rejuvenation. They do this by placing snails on your face. After the slithering of these snails over your face, your face or skin becomes smoother, and much more rejuvenated. It is more like an anti aging treatment.
Well no matter how beneficial this practice is, I would never succumb to allowing snails slither over my face. I obviously can't stand it. That notwithstanding, it works for those who can bear it. For me, it is a no no.
So that end our discussion for today, something bigger is coming as I will be delving into the work pharmacodynamics in medicine, a concept you don't wanna miss, you may wish to follow me for more updates.