fbpx Healthier Summer Grilling: Part Two  | CCNM-ICC

After a long winter of staying indoors, many of us are embracing the warmer weather as an opportunity to get outside and enjoy barbecued foods. We have previously written about the health consequences of eating barbecued foods on a regular basis. As a quick review, barbecuing meats produces carcinogenic (cancer-causing) compounds such as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and some studies have shown high consumption of well-done, fried or barbecued meats can increase risk of colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancer. The good news, however, is that there are some tips and tricks to make your grill-outs healthier. The following strategies have all been found to significantly lower HCA production in food while cooking, reducing the amount of this cancer-causing compound that you are exposed to:

  • Adding foods such as garlic, cherries, dried plums or apples to beef patties/sausages. In addition to lowering HCA production, foods such as cherries can help to keep meat fresher, and preserve higher moisture content in the food 
  • Utilizing extra virgin olive oil in your marinades or rubs 
  • Marinading meats such as chicken overnight in a sauce containing both turmeric and garlic or a sauce containing one part lemon juice and two parts each of onion and garlic 
  • Utilizing the herb rosemary in marinades or rubs as this can help inhibit HCA formation by more than 90% 
  • Cruciferous vegetables can help metabolize HCAs more quickly, so eat your barbecued foods with this family of vegetables that includes: brussel sprouts, broccoli, watercress, arugula, kale, cabbage, cauliflower or radishes. 

Try different strategies from this list to see which one works best for you to enjoy some healthy summer barbecue. 

Author: Dr. Sukriti Bhardwaj ND