Learn how to prepare your favorite grilled meat on the barbecue this summer without harming your health! Just follow this simple tip…
Summer is the traditional season for grilling out, but before you fire up the grill for those 4th of July burgers or brats, you’ll want to take heed of some important caveats for your health. The truth is, grilling itself can have some nasty consequences, especially when consuming grilled meat.
For example, you may not be aware that when you cook meat over high heat (grilled, broiled, or seared), carcinogenic compounds called HCA’s (heterocyclic amines) can form, and when you eat these on a regular basis, it can lead to cancer in the body. (By the way, this is also true for grilled vegetables as well.) Cooking meats in liquids over lower heat – i.e. in soups and stews – eliminates this issue, BUT, this doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite grass-fed steak or burgers altogether!
Instead, you can protect yourself by using specific herbs and spices in your cooking that will help to counteract the effects and reduce the carcinogens that form when you grill meat. Plus, your favorite steak will also taste even better, so it’s a win-win! 🙂
Here are a few tips from nutrition specialist, Mike Geary, for healthier (and tastier) grilled meals this summer:
If you’re going to grill meats, marinating meats for hours beforehand in liquid mixtures that contain rosemary and other herbs/spices can dramatically help to reduce HCA’s (heterocyclic amines), which are carcinogenic compounds that can form when meats are grilled. So using rosemary, thyme, garlic, oregano and other spices in a meat marinade before grilling meats can drastically reduce any carcinogens that normally would form on grilled meat.
The antioxidants in rosemary and thyme from a marinade were specifically cited in studies at being powerful inhibitors of HCA formation when grilling meats. But it was also noted that other spices such as garlic, oregano, and others can help to prevent HCA formation as well, so I suggest using a variety, which tastes great anyway!
One more important point about grilling meat:
Remember that the more well-done a meat is cooked, the higher concentration of carcinogenic HCA’s can form, so rare, medium-rare, or medium are healthier choices than well-done. I’ve never understood why anybody would want to ruin a good steak by burning it to oblivion anyway. But hey, if you’re one of those folks that likes your steaks well-done, just remember that you’re eating a lot more carcinogens than a steak that’s cooked less, so make sure to load up on your antioxidants (spices, teas, berries, etc) to help combat those extra carcinogens.
Washing down your barbequed meal with a glass of unsweetened iced black or green tea (rich in antioxidants) and also a good salad with lots of raw veggies can provide the antioxidants needed to counteract the effect of HCAs in your body from grilled meat.
But wait…one more thing to remember before you light up that grill is that the SOURCE of your meat matters!
While many health and medical experts caution the consumption of meats claiming they can “cause heart problems,” and many other scare tactics, there are no scientific studies showing this when you’re talking about high quality, organic and pasture-raised meats. Most of the negative studies on meat refer to processed meats laden with chemicals, such as hot dogs or lunch meats, but not a good grass-fed steak.
Animals that are raised in high-population commercial farms are fed mostly corn, corn by-products, and other grains, that completely change the chemistry of the meat you’re preparing.
They turn an otherwise healthy & fat-fighting meal into a health-destroying, inflammatory, fat-GAINING meal.
So the next time you’re at your local butcher or grocery store, make sure to seek out the highest quality pasture-raised meats, loaded with more vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.
Not only will they taste better, but they’ll also be much better for your waistline and health.