FOOD AND HEALTH: Harmful Effects of Grilling
The healthier way to grill meat, with vegetables and fruits
Hmmm.... I love the smell of barbecue! In rows of restaurants, where there's smoke and there's the smell of barbecue, people are drawn to it and they would definitely buy, as if it has a magnetic effect. Even in home entertaining, barbecues are a hit to guests. But, hu, hu, hu, I'm so disappointed in finding out that grilling, or barbecue-ing, has harmful effects in our health.
I'm no prophet of doom, but according to research, grilling the meat (pork, beef, chicken, etc.) or exposing it to high temperatures (pan-fried) produces HCA or heterocyclic amines in carcinogenic form. In short, eating grilled meat increases your cancer risk. HCAs are formed during cooking when naturally occuring amino acids in meat react with muscle creatine which are the most potent mutagens and carcinogens known. HCAs may be involved in diseases such as cardiomyopathy, mammary cancers, and colon cancers. In addition, even the fumes of cooked meats may also contain HCA and PAH or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons released from the charcoal when fat from meat drips and creates a flare up or intense heat.
So, we can't fry or bake because we use oil and butter which are definitely not good for our health. We can't boil because this will wash away the nutrients from the food. Now, we can't even grill? Well, here are some techniques and tips that we can do so that we can still enjoy grilled foods and barbecued foods.
1) Studies in the U.S. have shown that the best way to reduce the effects of HCA is to marinate the meat for an hour or more which could reduce cancer formation by as much as 92 to 99%. That's good! Also, using olive oil, citrus juices, and herbs like oregano basil, mint, rosemary, thyme, sage, etc. can also be used with the marinade to help reduce the effects of HCA. Even better!
2) Don't eat the blackened or charred parts of the meat.
3) You can also pre-cook meat in the oven or microwave and then finish on the grill just a few minutes.
4) Substitute grilled vegetables or fruits for parts of the meat in your meal. Fruits and vegetables are healthier grilled than broiled.