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Nutrition | Healthier Grilling

Healthier Grilling

The warmer weather is is back, which means it’s time to pull out the barbecue. Worried about reports that link grilling with carcinogens? Reduce your cancer risk with these simple techniques:

  • Use lean meats – One of the carcinogens, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), is created when fat drips from meat onto the heat source, turning into PAH-filled smoke that coats the food we later ingest. To reduce your intake of PAHs, user leaner cuts of meat, trim off any extra fat and remove skin from chicken before grilling.
  • Turn down the heat – The second type of harmful carcinogen linked to grilling is heterocyclic amine (HCA), which develops when meats are cooked at high heat. Turn down the heat, use indirect heat or put more distance between your food and the heat source to reduce the meat’s cooking temperature. Just be sure to cook your meat thoroughly enough to avoid harmful bacteria such as E. coli!
  • Just say no to meat – One of the easiest ways to reduce your risk of exposure to both HCAs and PAHs is to stick with fish and vegetables on the grill. However, you’ll still want to keep the heat down to avoid PAH–filled smoke and charring.
  • Marinate for flavor and safety – Marinating your meats in a combination of oil, salt, sugar, herbs and spices has been shown to reduce HCA production, with the added benefit of giving your food a kick start of flavor.

To learn more about healthy diet alternatives, talk to a Bastyr Center nutrition team. Make an appointment by calling 206.834.4100 or submitting our quick contact form.


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The health information contained in this site is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical care. Any products mentioned in studies cited in Healthnotes articles are not necessarily endorsed by Bastyr. As with any product, consult with a natural health practitioner to discuss what may be best for you.

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