Periwinkles scientifically known as (Littorina littorea) (Faocha), is a specie of snail found on rocky coasts or sandy or muddy habitats on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Collected all around our shores, slow moving and abundant Winkles have been gathered and consumed since pre-historical times.
There are different types and species of periwinkle but in Africa and Nigeria in particular, the common type is the small black shell Winkles. They are found in large quantities in riverine areas like Port-Harcourt, Bayelsa, Lagos, Delta and Akwa-Ibom.
Periwinkle possess analgesic, antibiotic, antibacterial, laxative and hypotensive properties. Periwinkle contains tannins that bind up fluids and relieves inflammation. They are low in Saturated Fat. It is also a good source of Protein and Potassium, and a very good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper and Selenium.
The Nigerian periwinkle is used in making several delicacies like, Okoro Soup, Edikang Ikong and Afang soup and recently, Periwinkle Sauce. This delicious seafood is sumptuous to behold and provides a lot of health benefits.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Nigerian periwinkle has a good amount of Omega-3 fatty acids in it, interestingly, the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids in periwinkles is more than the daily requirement of an adult human. Omega-3 fatty acids are fats commonly present in plants and marine life. According to the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), researchers have shown omega-3s to help lower a person’s triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are fats, and if a person has an excess of these, they are more at risk of cardiovascular diseases.
A 2018 study suggested that taking omega-3 supplements could benefit African Americans. Black participants receiving the supplement saw a 77% reduction in heart attack compared with those taking the placebo. An article in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, states they may be able to help a person stop putting weight back on, although it is not clear precisely how they may do this.
Good Source of selenium
Selenium from periwinkles plays a critical role in metabolism and thyroid function and helps protect your body from damage caused by oxidative stress. What’s more, selenium may help boost your immune system, slow age-related mental decline, and even reduce your risk of heart disease. If you are looking for one of the ways to fight cancer, then you should consume periwinkles because it contains Selenium.
Good source of Calcium
Littorina littorea (Periwinkle) has high level of calcium, your body needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones. Your heart, muscles and nerves also need calcium to function properly. Some studies suggests that calcium, along with vitamin D, may have benefits beyond bone health: perhaps protecting against cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Good source of Magnesium
Another nutrient available in Periwinkle is magnesium which plays important role in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body including the synthesis of fats, proteins and nucleic acids, neural reactions. Magnesium is a mineral that’s crucial to the body’s function. Magnesium helps keep blood pressure normal, bones strong, and the heart rhythm steady.
Periwinkles are rich in protein
Periwinkle is a very good source of protein. It contains about 15% protein which is vital because your body uses protein to build and repair body tissues, to make enzymes, hormones, and is used as important building blocks of bones, blood, skin, cartilage and muscles. Protein assists in energy metabolism and cellular processes, and also defends the body against disease via optimal immune function.
Periwinkle contains vital vitamins that the body requires
Periwinkles contains vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B1, B3, B6, and B12 which are very vital to body development, B vitamins for example play a vital role in maintaining good health and well-being. As the building blocks of a healthy body, B vitamins have a direct impact on your energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism. Vitamin B complex helps prevent infections and helps support or promote: cell health.
It is fortified with Iron
The Nigerian Periwinkle snail is a good source of iron, an important component of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to transport it throughout your body. Hemoglobin represents about two-thirds of the body’s iron. If you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
Periwinkles are good source of Phosphorus
The Nigerian Periwinkle snail is a good source of Phosphorous, which plays an important role in how the body uses carbohydrates and fats. It is also needed for the body to make protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues. Phosphorus also helps the body make ATP, a molecule the body uses to store energy. Phosphorus works with the B vitamins. SEE: Health Benefits and Side Effects of Eating Snails Meat