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Will you get on the (snail) trail of the latest superfood?

CROISSANTS, fries, garlic... when it comes to food, if it's good enough for the French, then it's good enough for us.

Snails, on the other hand, are perhaps more of an acquired taste - but don't be surprised if you spot more of the shelled slimers slithering onto a plate near you soon.

Snails, it seems, have been branded the new star superfood.

So what exactly are these credentials? Protein "ALTHOUGH they're not going to be high on my top 10 list of favourite foods," admits Healthspan nutritionist Rob Hobson (www.healthspan.co.uk), "snails do provide a low-calorie source of protein (unless you drench them in butter!)" Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle, and is also better at filling you up than carbs and fat. Many people look to seafood as an easy source of protein, but actually, snails generally contain more.

Iron HOBSON adds that snails are also a good source of iron, essential for building red blood cells and carrying energy around the body. A lack of iron can lead to extreme fatigue and anaemia.

Vitamin B12 OFTEN cited as the 'energy vitamin', B12 is needed for making red blood cells, keeping the nervous system healthy, releasing energy from the food we eat and processing folic acid. Luckily, snails have lots of it.

Magnesium THEY are also a good source of magnesium, which our bodies need to maintain a normal blood pressure, strengthen bones and also keep our heartbeat regular.

Selenium WE don't need much selenium in our bodies, but we do need some to help keep a healthy immune system and protect cells against damage. And yes, snails contain selenium.

Omega 3 AH, the much-feted, heartloving Omega 3. "Snails also supply a little omega 3," says Hobson, "which is good news for your heart.

"Although, he adds, "they contain nowhere near the levels found in oily fish."

FANCY SLATHERING SNAIL SLIME ON YOUR FACE? NOT content with just telling us to eat snails, beauty experts say we should be putting snail slime on our skin too.

Apparently, the benefits were discovered when snail farmers in Chile noticed their hands were soft, smooth and cuts tended to heal quickly. It's now known that this is due to Helix Aspersa Muller, a substance snails produce to regenerate their own shells and skin.

Turns out, it contains a perfect balance of skin-friendly ingredients, like glycolic acid (for removing dead skin cells), collagen and elastin (for skin structure), allantoin (for regeneration), and a mix of vitamins and minerals (for regeneration and anti-inflammation).

Tempted? Dr Organic Snail Gel, PS19.99 (www.hollandandbarrett.com)

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 9, 2015
Words:440
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