Watch out for the barbecue, it's carcinogenic! I'll explain how to grill without risking your health

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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It has now been confirmed several times: making a barbecue by cooking especially red meat exposes you to a greater risk of cancer (in particular to the colon). Here are some tips for grilling without risking health.

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It has now been confirmed several times: to barbecue cooking mainly red meat exposes you to a greater risk of cancer (especially of the colon). Here then some tricks for grilling without risking health.

Summer is the time when, with family and friends, you spend more time outdoors and often have lunch or dinner preparing a nice barbecue together. However, especially those who eat red meat risk health consequences.

Cooking meat, in fact, can cause the formation of substances which, having reached our organism, can be carcinogenic. To remember this time is the American Institute for Cancer Research.

As stated Alice Bender, Senior Director del Nutrition Programs dell’istituto:

"Several researches have shown that a diet rich in red and processed meat increases the risk of colon cancer and grilling both white and red meat at high temperatures forms highly carcinogenic substances."

High-temperature cooking, such as grilling, causes the formation of compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These substances have shown the ability to damage our DNA so as to promote the onset of cancer.

What to do then? Should we give up on the grill altogether?

From the US experts come the tips to avoid cooking incorrectly, exposing themselves more to the carcinogenicity of the barbecue:

  1. Grilling different types of food. Not only red and white meats, but also vegetables! Indeed, vegetables in particular contain fiber, vitamins and natural compounds with anti-cancer action.
  2. Turn food often by cooking it in the center of the grill (always cut off any charred parts before serving).
  3. Alternate other foods with vegetables on the spit: the area exposed to the flame decreases and grilling in this way is healthier
  4. La marinating helps reduce risks: studies have shown that using a blend that includes vinegar, lemon juice or wine together with oil, herbs and spices can reduce the formation of HCA.
  5. Use spices and herbs (contain antioxidants)
  6. Limit your exposure to smoke
  7. Clean the grids thoroughly to eliminate residues that remain attached and in which carcinogenic substances are concentrated.
  8. Reduce the cooking time of the food on the grill: By reducing the amount of time the meat spends in contact with the flame, it is possible to reduce the amount of PAHs generated and ingested. It can therefore be partially pre-cooked in the oven.
  9. Use hardwood charcoal (they burn at lower temperatures). Cooking the meat on a low heat reduces the formation of HCA and PAH and helps to minimize the risk of burns and charring.

Read also:

  • Grilling: 10 ways to make the barbecue healthier
  • 12 alternative foods to meat and fish to cook on the grill
  • Vegetarian barbecue: recipes for a truly green barbecue

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