Benefits of Edible Snails: Why you should eat 'Tharoi'

Locally called ‘Tharoi’, snails are eaten as a dish and also as an evening snack called tharoi bora in Manipur.


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The practice of rearing snails for food is known as heliciculture. During the rainy period, the snails come out of hibernation and release most of their mucus onto the dry wood or straw. The snails are then prepared for cooking. Their texture when cooked is slightly chewy and tender. Freshwater snails, sea snails and land snails are all eaten in many countries. In French cuisine, edible snails are served for instance in Escargot.

In Indonesia, they are fried as satay, a dish known as sate kakul. The eggs of certain snail species are eaten in a fashion similar to the way caviar is eaten.

In Bulgaria, snails are traditionally cooked in an oven with rice or fried in a pan with vegetable oil and red paprika powder. Before they are used for those dishes, however, they are thoroughly boiled in hot water (for up to 90 minutes) and manually extracted from their shells. In Manipur, snails, locally called 'tharoi' are eaten as a dish and also as an evening snack called tharoi bora.

Here are the top ten benefits of eating ‘Tharoi’, according to traditional belief and scientific findings:

1. Some of the species of tharoi possess anti-cancer properties and boost the immune system due to their antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects.

2. An average snail consists of 80 per cent water, 15per cent protein and 2.4 per cent fat. They contain essential fatty acids, calcium, iron, selenium, magnesium.  

3. Tharoi is one of the healthiest sources of protein because the tharoi meats contain almost zero fat. The snail meat makes up to 12-15 per cent of protein.

4. People having health problems for blood pressure and diabetes can have tharoi because it has relatively a low level of cholesterol.

5. Tharoi is a very rich source of Vitamin A, K, E and b12 which help to improve your body’s immune system against infection and diseases, give you smooth and healthy skin, and help in the circulation of more oxygen to your body tissues and organs and also help improve your vision.

6. The snail meat has high Iron content, a major component of the red blood cell in your body and lack of iron leads to anaemia and extreme fatigue.

7. They are a healthy source of omega 3 which help improve heart diseases and also very good for the human brain.

8. Recent studies have shown that anti-bacterial substances white rock sea snails secrete onto their eggs to protect them from the bacteria-rich marine environment, containing a compound called 6-Br, which has been known to reduce certain forms of prostate tumours without any form of toxicity to the human body.

9. It is well known amongst certain tribes in West Africa of the medicinal value of edible snails in the treatment of whooping cough.

10. Tryptophan present in snail meat plays a vital role in your body’s regulation of sleep, impulse, appetite, and even an improved mood.

Snails and slug species that are not normally eaten in certain areas have occasionally been used as famine food in historical times. A history of Scotland written in the 1800s recounts a description of various snails and their use as food items in times of plague.

 

First Published:Feb. 20, 2021, 3:26 p.m.

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