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HomeInternationalKENYANyama choma, a Kenyan delicacy that's associated with gout

Nyama choma, a Kenyan delicacy that’s associated with gout


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It is one of the best delicacies in the eastern part of Africa and yet one that is associated with causing one of the deadliest and painful diseases for mankind.

For many a man and woman in Kenya, Nyama Choma, a special delicacy, is the best meal you can have particulary when you are out there having fun but in the end there is a heavy price to pay – you will get ill.

Three years ago, David, 40, was awakened by excruciating pain in his right big toe after partying with friends – it was like the toe was burning – the weight of the bed sheet seemed to worsen the pain.

This was David’s second time experiencing this, so he decided to see a doctor after taking some pain relievers.

He went to the hospital the following morning, and after conducting some tests, his doctor diagnosed him with gout.

Gout is a complicated and common kind of arthritis – it is indicated by abrupt severe pain attacks, tenderness, redness, and swelling in one or more joints, primarily the big toe.

“The pain was so much. Never felt that before,” said David.

A gout attack occurs suddenly, usually waking you up with a feeling of your big toe being on fire.

The joint becomes swollen, hot, and tender that it can’t stand the weight of your bed sheet.

Gout symptoms come and go; however, you can manage symptoms and avoid flare-ups through proper interventions.

Roasting Nyama Choma, a delicacy that is likely cause gout.

David had only heard of gout but didn’t know much about it and so, he decided to learn all he could about his newly acquired condition.

Gout strikes when urate crystals accumulate in your joints, which causes intense pain and inflammation of the affected joint.

Urate crystals are produced when the body has high uric acid levels.

Uric acid is when it breaks down purines – naturally occurring substances in the body.

Also, purines are available in some foods, including organ meats and red meat. Purine-rich seafood includes tuna, scallops, trout, mussels, sardines, and anchovies.

Other sources of purines include alcoholic beverages, such as beer and drinks with fructose.

When he knew about the causes of uric acid, David instantly knew that his regular nights out with his friends caused this problem.

On their boys’ night out, David and friends indulge in plates of ‘nyama choma’ and as much beer as possible. ‘Nyama choma’ is a Kenyan favourite among men as they like to take it while drinking.

It is simply barbequed red meat prepared on an open fire.

People enjoying Nyama Choma in the Kenyan capital Nairobi

David takes ‘nyama choma’ at least twice weekly and drinks as much.

Usually, uric acid dissolves and goes through the kidneys into the urine. But, sometimes, the body produces too much of it, or the kidneys excrete too little.

This leads to an accumulation that forms sharp urate crystals in joints and nearby tissue that cause swelling, inflammation, and pain.

Besides overindulging in red meat and beer, there are other risk factors for gout.

Gout is more prevalent in males than females. Males over 65 are thrice as likely to get it as their younger counterparts.

Your dietary choices may be aggravating your condition.

Alcohol inhibits the elimination of uric acid from your body. Foods high in purines elevates uric acid levels.

Taking alcohol and eating foods high in purine can increase your susceptibility to gout.

If a close family member had or has gout, it predisposes you to the same.

Kidney conditions such as renal insufficiency can reduce the ability of the body to excrete waste, causing increased levels of uric acid.

Diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure are also linked to gout.

Nyama choma with ugali and Kachumbali

What is the treatment for high uric levels?

A gout attack is treatable by medication to minimize swelling, pain, and inflammation.

Take a lot of fluids and avoid sweetened soft drinks and alcohol. Elevation and ice are helpful.

Urate crystals may increase and form kidney stones that may eventually be excreted through urine, hence the need to drink more fluids. Eight glasses of water are sufficient daily.

You may also receive medications to help kidney stones pass through the relaxation of ureter muscles.

This duct enables urine passage from the kidneys to your bladder – sometimes the stones are too large, which may block urine flow or cause an infection, necessitating a surgical procedure to remove them.

Medication to treat gout is available in two types and concentrates on two diverse problems.

One type helps minimize pain and inflammation, while the second type prevents complications by reducing uric acid levels in the blood.

The appropriate medication for you depends on the severity and frequency of your symptoms, including other pre-existing health issues.

Lifestyle changes and home remedies also work in managing and preventing gout flare-ups.

Start by limiting your consumption of alcoholic drinks and sugary drinks. Drink lots of water instead.

Instead of taking purine-rich foods, get your proteins from low-fat dairy products.

Lose weight by exercising regularly, as it minimizes your risk of gout.

Low-impact activities like swimming, cycling, and walking are easy on the joints.

“The pain was so much. Never felt that before.”

A regular Nyama Choma lover

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