Scientific researches correlating the higher risk of cancer with the heat generated from grilling or barbecuing has simmered down the enthusiasm of many barbecue lovers. Grilling techniques including broiling or pan frying at high temperatures is believed to produce certain chemicals that can be carcinogenic and thus, fatal to human life. To fuel up your fervor for this favorite form of cooking, effective measures can be taken up to keep the grilling experience an enjoyable as well as healthy one. Here are some of the useful tips to help you counter its potential health risks while taking pleasure in working up your grills.
Have a healthy grilled meal by following simple, easy to implement and less time consuming cooking strategies.
Marinating with spices and herbs tend to reduce the formation of harmful HCAs (Heterocyclic amines) responsible for causing cancer or damaging our DNA. Studies have shown that meats marinated with spices such as thyme, garlic, sage, oregano, basil, red pepper etc have about 60% less of HCAs as compared to non-marinated ones. It is believed that the antioxidants present in these spices help fight the carcinogens produced by HCA and thus, reduce the cancer risk significantly. Rosemary is the most beneficial of all herbs as it can reduce HCA up to 90%. Moreover, the marinate acts as a barrier between the high heat of the grill and the protein present in the meat which further, prevents the formation of HCAs. Also, make sure you do not marinate for long as that decreases the amount of antioxidants present in it.
Lower The Heat:
As high heat is the main culprit for causing cancer forming chemicals, try to keep the flame on a low to moderate setting, preferably below 325 degrees F for a healthy and disease free meal. The specific temperatures advised for cooking meats include 160 degrees for fresh pork or ground red meat, 165 for poultry and 145 for steaks or chops.
Shorter Cooking Duration:
The lesser time the meat is exposed to heat, lesser are the health risks involved. To avoid charring or overheating the meat, cook leaner and smaller portions of meat with less fat. Shrimp or fish require less time to grill and should be preferred over chicken, pork or beef. Vegetables are the healthiest and safest food items to be grilled as they contain less of fat or protein thus, producing very low levels of HCA.
Precook In A Different Medium:
Precooking for a few minutes in a microwave, or by stewing, simmering, braising etc, tends to lower actual cooking time and reduce HCA by 90%. Do discard the juice that drips off while microwaving or grilling as the juice contains the most harmful chemicals.
Scrub your grill with a brush before and after use to prevent the accumulation of carcinogens on the grill gates.
Incorporate these simple, smart ways to transform your summer barbecue treat into a safe and healthy meal to suit your palate as well as your body and have a thrilling, grilling experience.
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