The Nigerian periwinkle is considered a delicacy in some parts of the country, especially among the South-South people, who use it in cooking soups like Afang and Edikang Ikong.
The periwinkle is a type of sea snail that belongs to the Littorinidae family. Its scientific name is “Littorina littorea”. It is a specie of small edible whelk or sea snail that has gills and an operculum.
It is commonly found around sea sides, which is very common in the South-South. It has an outer shell, which is removed before it can be eaten. It is widely consumed not just in Nigeria but in other parts of Africa and Asia as well.
Today, we will be looking at some of the health benefits of eating periwinkles and why you should consider eating it today if you have never tried it before.
Nutritional Value of Periwinkles
The periwinkle meat is high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids and low in fat. They also contain about 80% water, 15% protein, and 1.4% fat. Iron, sodium, and magnesium are also present in periwinkles.
7 Health Benefits of Periwinkles
Below are some of the nutritional benefits of periwinkles (snail food):
1. Rich in protein
Periwinkle is a rich source of protein. About 15% of periwinkle is made up of protein.
This makes it a very good alternative if you are looking for something different from the chicken and fish you are used to.
Protein is very helpful for the body. It is classified as a “body-building food.”
This is because it is responsible for the creation of new muscles as well as cell regeneration.
Protein also plays a role in moving essential molecules around the body and also impacts how the hormones coordinate bodily functions.
This is why consuming protein is very important. Lack of protein could lead to kwashiorkor and other deficiencies.
Eating periwinkle could help supply your body with all the nutrients you need for the day.
2. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Your body needs Omega-3 fatty acids, and periwinkles could supply all that you need.
Omega-3 fatty acids are commonly found in animals that live in water, like fish and shrimp, as well as periwinkles.
The Omega-3 fatty acids found in periwinkle are more than recommended daily need in most cases.
Some of the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include improving brain health, sharpening memory, and boosting the development of the nervous system.
Omega-3 fatty acids also help to reduce blood pressure and are generally good for the heart.
If you want to consume Omega-3 fatty acids without always eating fish, then you should choose periwinkles instead.
3. Rich in magnesium
Another nutrient that is found abundantly in periwinkle is magnesium.
Magnesium helps to support muscle and nerve function and also boosts energy production.
It also helps to lower blood pressure levels and enhance insulin sensitivity, which is very helpful for maintaining proper blood sugar levels.
Magnesium is also beneficial to the bones and also has some anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
4. Rich in iron
Eating periwinkle would also help boost your iron levels. Iron is quite important to the body for various reasons.
It plays a role in the formation of red blood cells, which have a tremendous role in the body.
A lack of iron is a deficiency known as Anaemia. People with anaemia can eat periwinkles to boost their iron levels.
5. Good for the heart
Another interesting health benefit of periwinkles is that they are good for the heart.
Since periwinkles are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, they provide the heart with a lot of benefits.
Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids reduce triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood, and reduce the risk of developing an irregular heart beat (arrhythmias)
6. Prevents and treats anaemia
Eating periwinkles can prevent iron-deficiency anemia.
Periwinkles are an excellent source of iron, with one serving of periwinkles containing 22% of your recommended daily intake of iron.
7. May boost the immune system
Additionally, periwinkles contains a lot of vitamins and minerals, which may strength the body’s immune system.
For example, Vitamin A, which is present in per helps your immune system fight off diseases and strengthens your eyes. It also helps cells in your body
How to prepare periwinkles
Here is how you can hygienically prepare your periwinkles at home:
- Buy some periwinkle from the market
- To clean the periwinkle, rinse your it in warm water, and make that there are no sands inside.
- Boil the periwinkles for a few minutes, as this will help the dirt on the shell to be removed.
- Drain the water after boiling and remove the meat from the shell with a small sharp object.
- After washing and cleaning the periwinkles, put them in a pot and boil for 10 minutes.
- You can add salt, ginger, and seasonings to enhance the taste.
- Finally, add your periwinkles to your Afang soup, Banga soup, or Edikang Ikong and enjoy.
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