Summer is synonymous with grilling, and you’ve probably done your share of the cooking this season. While cooking over a fire has its benefits, such as being able to cook in bulk, reducing clutter in the house, and spending time outdoors, you may have heard of some of the health problems associated with barbecuing, such as the carcinogens released during cooking. produced over a flame. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you have to give up grilling for good, there are just a few things to consider first.
For starters, you should know that the potential cancer risk associated with grilling is related to cooking meat. If you tend to cook your veggies over the fire, keep going and load up on those veggies! When it comes to barbecuing your meat, there are a number of mechanisms that can increase meat production carcinogenswhich are carcinogenic compounds.
The creatine naturally found in meat turns into a worrying carcinogen when exposed to high temperatures. Then, when fat drips from the meat and comes in contact with a flame, a carcinogenic compound is formed and rises to adhere to the meat.
Both compounds are likely to be present in meat grilled over an open flame over high heat for extended periods of time. Here’s what you can do to reduce the production of carcinogens in your grilled meats. And for more tips on healthy cooking, check out Healthy Lunch Recipes That Take 10 Minutes (or Less).
Eat more antioxidants
There are so many ways to boost antioxidants with meals. These compounds protect the cells in your body from carcinogens and may even reduce the production of carcinogens when grilling. One way to add antioxidants to your grilling is to marinate your meat for at least 20 minutes before cooking.
A homemade marinade of citrus juices, herbs, and olive oil is an easy solution, and if you prefer to buy a bottle, look for ones that are low in sugar and salt. You can also add antioxidants to your meals by eating more fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, such as avocado, nuts, and seeds.
Reduce time on the grill
The longer your meat is exposed to high temperatures, the higher the number of carcinogens that will form. There are a few ways to reduce the time your meat spends on the grill. You can cook your meat in small pieces, such as kabobs, that take less time on a flame. You can also partially cook your meat in the oven or on the stove before finishing it on the grill. In addition, wrapping your meat in foil will reduce the amount of fat that drips into the flames and speed up cooking time as well.
Try plant-based options
With plenty of plant-based burgers, sausages, and patties available on the market, there are so many ways to swap your traditional grilled meats for plant-based protein. Because these vegan options contain no animal protein and often less fat than animal protein, they are likely to produce far fewer carcinogens during the grilling process. While some products are meant to mimic animal meat very closely, others will have their own unique taste and texture. Take your pick and know that using these plant-based options will likely lead to fewer carcinogens consumed and provide additional nutrients, such as fiber, not found in meat.
Other ways to reduce carcinogens when grilling include using lean cuts of meat so that less fat drips into the flames, avoid charring meat, clean your grill thoroughly before each use, and keep a water bottle handy to spritz the flames as they flare up.