Healthy tips for summer grilling: Reducing Carcinogens

HEALTH & FOODS – Summer is here, so that means it’s grilling time!

Before firing up the grill for a family cookout, you may want to take the following steps to reduce carcinogens formed during the cooking of meat.

10 ways to reducing carcinogens in cooked meat

Please note: Vegetables don’t create carcinogens when they char; however, when meats are grilled, carcinogens are created.  Scientists have come up with ways you can dramatically reduce the hazard of carcinogens in grilled meat. Here are 10 suggestions:

  1. Flip your burgers often. By turning burgers once a minute and cooking them over a low heat you reduce heterocyclic amines (HCA) and kill potentially deadly E. Coli bacteria. In addition, use a meat thermometer to make sure the meat reaches 160 degrees. This is the temperature needed to deactivate E. coli. The appearance of the meat being brown does not mean it is thoroughly cooked.
  2. Use the right marinade. Marinate raw meat in a thin, liquid sauce for at least ten minutes. When thick commercial sauces are used, the HCAs triple. Dilute thick sauces.
  3. Microwave first. Partially cook burgers, poultry, ribs and fish in a microwave oven for at least 10 minutes before grilling. Be sure you discard juices when done. By practicing this procedure, you eliminate 90 percent of HCAs.
  4. Add anti-cancer soy. Mix 1/2-cup of textured soy protein into a pound of ground meat before grilling. This cuts 95-percent of the expected HCAs in burgers without affecting taste.
  5. Enhance with Vitamin E. Add vitamin E to raw meat grinders. About 120 milligrams of vitamin E powder mixed into or sprinkled on 3.5-ounce patties can reduce HCA formation by as much as 72 percent. You can use a capsule of vitamin and crack it open for contents.
  6. Try a fruit burger. This will not be for everyone, but if you mix a pound of ground meat with a cup of tart, ground cherries before grilling, you suppress 90 percent of HCA formation. Other deep-colored fruits rich in antioxidants work as well. These include grapes, blueberries, and plums.
  7. Add garlic and herbs. Garlic, rosemary and sage reduce HCAs when mixed into burgers. Use them in marinades or just eat them in a meal with grilled meat. Antioxidants in citrus fruits also block HCAs.
  8. Do not order meat very well-done. The longer you cook meat at high temperatures the more HCAs you produce. This applies in grilling, broiling and frying. If you cook a steak well done as opposed to medium-well, you double HCAs.
  9. Drink tea with your barbecue. Chemicals in black and green tea help detoxify HCAs. Hot or iced tea from bags or loose tea is what you want to drink. Bottled teas or powdered, instant teas are not beneficial. You can also marinate meat, poultry and fish in concentrated tea. Let the tea bag steep in 1/4 cup of hot water for five minutes.
  10. Skip meat entirely and grill greens. Fruits and vegetables do not contain creatine, the animal protein needed to make HCAs. Pineapple and peppers are very good when grilled. In addition, eating fruits, vegetables and green salads along with barbecued meat lessens the cancer hazard.

Health Disclaimer: All information in this article is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information. Instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals and conduct their own independent research on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The information and opinions expressed here are believed to be accurate, based on the best judgment and research available to the authors at this time, and readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries.

For additional health information by Mama Vega, visit Never Tasted So Good!