Snails are the largest mollusk subgroup, containing 10,000 species and 400 living families. They are in every habitat, underwater and on the land. Snails are the common name given to a member of a class of mollusks Gastropoda.
They are harmless creatures and they have many names according to cultures, ethnic groups, tribes, and dialects. Snails are commonly known as igbin in Yoruba, agwu in Igbo, and katantawa in the Hausa language.
A snail has a coiled shell that is wide enough for the specimen to totally retract into the molluscan class. Snails that naturally lack a shell or have only an internal shell are often referred to as slugs, and ground snails with only a very small shell are often referred to as semi-slugs.
Generally, snails contain vitamins A, E, B1, B3, and B6. Vitamin A is said to be essential for the proper function of the eyes. Vitamin E also acts as an antioxidant, while vitamins B1, B3, and B6 are vital vitamins that help to prevent and control diabetes.
Snails are also rich in vitamin B12, which helps in the production of red blood cells, keeps the nervous system healthy, releases energy from food eaten, and processes folic acid.
Snails are low in calories and have a very high amount of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscles and worn-out tissues in the body. They also serve as ideal weight watchers because of their low in calorie nutrition.
Also, the slime found in snails has been found to be beneficial for the treatment of skin diseases because it is extremely rich in allantoin, collagen, and elastin.
Recent research from the Department of Biology, University of Shallahaddin, in Iraq, found that snails are good sources of iron needed for building red blood cells and transporting energy to the body. When the body lacks iron, which helps it in maintaining normal blood pressure and regular heartbeat, it can result in anemia and extreme fatigue.
The researcher, Rezan Abdulrazak Ahmed, also discovered that selenium, found in snails, helps to keep the immune system healthy and protects cells from damage. Snails are a great source of calcium orthophosphate, a chemical substrate used to cure kidney diseases.
The study further stated that snails contain glycoprotein, which helps in fighting cancer; as well as a copper compound, which helps to heal injury and prevent heart disorder. They also contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which assist in the development of the brain and memory of children and also prevent heart diseases.
Snails are also low in sodium, thereby, making them good for maintaining blood pressure levels, while reducing the risk of stroke, and heart and kidney disease.
In addition to all these benefits, snails are tasty and nutritious. They can be fried, boiled, or roasted and eaten with all sorts of healthy foods and vegetables.