The summer grilling season is upon us, a happy time to enjoy good food and fun.
But as you fire up your gas or charcoal grill, take a moment to consider what and how you're cooking. That tempting meat with such a pleasant aroma may be a health concern.
The American Institute for Cancer Research says that when meat, poultry and fish are cooked with high temperatures – especially when well-done or charred – two cancer-causing compounds can form.
These substances, called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), can damage DNA and may increase your risk for colon cancer.
Chrisanne Urban, M.S., a Marshfield Clinic registered dietitian, offers these tips on how to enjoy safer grilling:
low and slow. Slow down the cooking time with a low flame or less charcoal, to limit burning and charring," Urban said. "Cut off any visible fat and any charred portions of the meat."
pre-cook. You can do this in the microwave, oven or stove to help reduce time the meat is exposed to high heat.
- "Sizzle with
veggies and fruits," Urban said. "Boost cancer prevention with these foods on the menu and you can grill away without worry because the cancer-causing compounds related to grilled meat don't form on grilled vegetables and fruits."
- Mix up a
marinade. Marinating meat, even for as little as 30 minutes, reduces formation of HCAs. The bonus here is that your family and guests will rave about the tenderness and added flavor from the marinade.