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May 25, 2018 • Healthy Eating & Nutrition

Healthy Grilling Tips

healthy grilling

Grilling is fun, easy, and tasty, but it may be hazardous to your health. Grilled meat, especially red meat, is a well-known source of 2 cancer-causing agents, namely heterocyclic amines (HCA’s) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s). HCA’s develop when the muscle proteins of meats are exposed to high heat. PAH’s form in the black, charred outer portions of grilled meats when their surface fats and juices come into direct contact with flame and smoke.

If you are going to be grilling any type of meat, you can significantly reduce your family’s exposure to these harmful chemicals by taking the following simple steps:

  • Partially precook your meat in the microwave for 2 minutes.
  • Marinate before grilling. Even a quick 30-second submersion in a marinade liquid is helpful.
  • Avoid “well done” meats and trim away any charred portions before eating.
  • Add some black pepper in combination with any of the following herbs and spices – rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, sage, marjoram, cloves or allspice to the surface of the meat, or in the case of ground meat, into the mixture to dramatically reduce or even eliminate the formation of HCA’s.
  • Flip the meat frequently to keep the internal temperature lower.
  • Stick with lean cuts and trim away as much visible fat as possible to decrease flare-ups from the open flame.
  • Grill meats as an occasional treat and consume moderate portions when you do.

Lastly, enjoy your grilled meat with as many brightly colored fruit and vegetable sides as possible. Produce provides healthful compounds that can counteract the harmful effects of PAH’s and HCA’s.


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