Grilling Tips for Cancer Prevention – Healthy BBQ

The enticing aroma of food being cooked on a backyard BBQ grill. The sizzle of the steak on the grill makes your mouth water and you can’t wait to bite into the crunchy, charred coating on the food that is hot off the grill.

But we know by now that any foods or cooking methods that we love the most are the ones that are bad for our health. Including grilling. Grilling the ‘old fashioned’ way actually increases the risk for certain cancers. Cancer prevention and healthier BBQ cooking work hand in hand with the following grilling tips.

HCA’s, heterocyclic amines, are cancer causing substances found in meats grilled at high temperatures. By lowering the grilling temperature you lower the amount of HCA’s in the grilled meat.

Grilling meat to no more than medium-rare doneness also lowers the amount of HCA’s. Eating well done or charred meat from a grill can increase the risk of stomach cancer three times to that of eating medium-rare meat cooked at a low grill temperature.

Most of us grillers were always taught to only flip a hamburger once during grilling to avoid meat toughness. Now we are told to flip hamburgers often while grilling to lower the amount of HCA’s and promote cancer prevention.

Taking the healthier BBQ cooking a step farther in cancer prevention is adding tofu to your lean ground beef prior to grilling it. The added tofu to the lean ground beef almost completely eradicates the formation of HCA’s in grilled hamburgers.

Lean ground beef and removing the fat from other cuts of beef is essential for healthier BBQ cooking for cancer prevention by reducing the risk of grill flare-ups caused from dripping meat fats. PAH’s, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are carcinogens deposited on grilled food when a flare-up occurs while fatty meat is cooking on the grill.

Those bursts of grill fire that elicit squeals from onlookers and provide a charred crunch on the outside of grilled foods are not conducive to cancer prevention.

Healthier BBQ cooking that requires fat-less meat grilled at lower temperatures for cancer prevention sounds like a bland, tough and under cooked meal.

Here are more recipes to spice up that BBQ meal and still eat healthy.

Marinate your meat (and veggies) before grilling using your favorite marinade. A thin coating of marinade on meat will prevent over half of the HCA’s during grilling. Marinades add flavor and tenderize grill meats.

Use antioxidant herbs as flavorings for your food prior to grilling. Herbs like rosemary and sage add a punch of flavor and aroma to grilling and reduce the HCA’s. Good old garlic will too. Any use of an antioxidant herbs or foods will aid in cancer prevention.

Finally, you can opt out of meat and try something else:

Pre-cooking your grill meat in the microwave will speed up the grilling time on the lower temperature grill setting and prevent almost all of the HCA’s in the meat. A two minute microwave pre-cook provides quicker and healthier BBQ cooking.

Photo by Jens Mahnke from Pexels

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