Best Ways to Barbecue to Reduce Cancer Risk: Eat This, Not That

Summer is synonymous with grilling, and chances are you’ve been cooking outside this season. While cooking over an open fire has its benefits, such as being able to cook in bulk, less clutter inside the house, and spending time outdoors, you may have heard of some health concerns that barbecues also bring, such as carcinogens that They are produced by cooking. over a flame. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you have to give up grilling forever, there are just a few things to consider first.

For starters, you should know that the possible cancer risk associated with grilling is related to the cooking of the meat. If you tend to cook your veggies over the flame, go ahead and load up on those veggies! When it comes to grilling meat, there are a couple of mechanisms at play that can increase meat production. carcinogenswhich are carcinogenic compounds.

The naturally occurring creatine in meat converts to a carcinogenic compound of concern when exposed to high temperatures. Then, when the fat drips from the meat and comes into contact with a flame, a carcinogenic compound forms and rises to stick to the meat.

Both compounds are likely to be present in meat that has been grilled at high heat over an open flame for an extended period of time. Here’s what you can do to reduce the production of carcinogenic compounds in your grilled meats. And for more healthy cooking tips, check out Healthy Lunch Recipes That Take 10 Minutes (or Less).

Eat more antioxidants

marinated steak
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There are so many ways to increase antioxidants in food. These compounds protect your body’s cells from carcinogens and may even reduce the production of cancer-causing compounds when grilling. One way to introduce antioxidants to the grill is to marinate the meat for at least 20 minutes before cooking.

A homemade marinade of citrus juice, seasonings, and olive oil is a simple solution, and if you prefer a bottled option, look for ones low in sugar and salt. You can also add antioxidants to your meals by eating more fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, and seeds.

Reduce time on the grill

Grilled chicken and vegetable skewers
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The longer meat is exposed to high temperatures, the greater the amount of carcinogenic compounds that will form. There are a few ways to reduce the amount of time meat is on the grill. You can cook your meat in small pieces, like skewers, which will require less total time over a flame. You can also partially cook the meat in the oven or on the stovetop before finishing it on the grill. Also, wrapping the meat in aluminum foil will reduce the amount of fat that drips onto the flames and will also speed up the cooking time.

Try Plant-Based Options

vegetarian hamburger
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With so many plant-based burgers, sausages, and patties available on the market, there are plenty of ways to swap out your traditional grilled meats for plant-based protein. Because these vegan options contain no animal protein and often less fat than animal protein, there are likely to be far fewer carcinogens produced in the grilling process. While some products are meant to closely mimic animal flesh, others will have their own unique flavor and texture. Choose and know that using these plant-based options will likely lead to fewer carcinogens being consumed and provide additional nutrients, such as fiber, not found in meat.

Additional ways to reduce carcinogens while grilling include using leaner cuts of meat so there is less fat dripping onto the flames, avoiding burning the meat, thoroughly cleaning the grill before each use, and having a bottle of water. by hand to spray the flames if they catch fire.

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