Why Suya Consumption May Be Bad For Your Health

Suya is a very popular delicacy not just to Nigerians alone but also to the rest of the West African sub region. It is very popular within the Hausa people of northern Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, and Ghana and also as far as to some parts of Sudan. It is made by barbecuing beef or chicken and spiced it by adding Onion, pepper, cabbage, and tomatoes. A greater population of Nigeria’s consumes this delicacy without knowing the health implication. 


During a nutrition workshop organised by Coca-Cola Nigeria for health writers in Lagos back in 2014, A professor by the name Ignatius Onimawo, a Professor of Nutrition and Director of Academic Planning at the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State noted that research has shown that suya consumption has been found to be associated to the risk of getting cancer. According to the study, this is due to the preparation process involved. Suyas are prepare by cooking the meat on and open fire heated with coal along with other materials. During the process, oil is added to the fire and meat for effective heat. In some cases plastics or rubber materials are added to the fire the process releases what is known polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) to the meat. PAHs is known to be cancer causing toxins

Also research has shown that meat cooked over open flame often causes the formation of toxic compounds known as Heterocyclic Amines which also lead to cancer formation. Consumption of sugar can also lead to Contacting Zonotic Diseases a disease that can be passed between animals and humans easily. This is possible as it is a known fact that suya meats are not well cooked. If the meat used in the preparation of the suya is affected with any disease, it may likely pass that disease to the people who consume them.

While this may be the case, the question on everyone’s mind is how can we stop this if we must eat suya? If you are one of those who can do without eating suya, then here is a solution for you. Studies have shown that onions are powerful antioxidants. If you must eat suya then make sure to eat it with large amount of onions as it will help to effectively stop the oxidative effect created during the cooking and consumption of suya.

Another way to reduce the risk of contacting cancer due to consumption of suya, is by eating cabbage. Research has also shown that cabbage contains a high concentration of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds and glucosinolates which prevent cancer. It has also been shown that cabbage helps heal stomach ulcers and offers benefits to digestion. Cabbage also contain vitamin K1 which many people are deficient in and vitamin B which are very important for energy.

Tomatoes have also been found to reduce the risk of Prostate cancer. According to a study conducted shows that men who consumer about 10 portions of tomatoes weekly stand a chance of reducing the risk of cancer by 20%. This is a good antioxidants agent to combat the high risk of cancer. Eating of tomatoes can alos reduce or prevent the risk of other ailment such as bone loss, diabetes, and kidney stones.

In conclusion, when next you buy yourself a suya, make sure to tell the seller to add this vegetables and fruit as they can save your life.

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