Is Grilled Food Safe to Eat?

22 Aug

Eating grilled meat may increase your exposure to carcinogens “When meat is charred, substances called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons(PAHs) are formed,” says UCLA’s Catherine Carpenter, Ph.D. These damage DNA and may raise cancer risk. To minimize the effect, follow these four tips:

Pair with produce. Antioxidants in fruit and vegetables protect cells from carcinogens, Carpenter says. “Eat a variety of produce, especially when you’re having grilled meat.”

Marinate. Research shows this lowers HCA and PAH levels by up to 88 and 70 percent, respectively. Include herbs, like rosemary, Carpenter says. Their antioxidants help offset the effects of grilling.

Brush the grill. Clean it every time you use it to reduce your exposure to chemicals from previous meals.

Turn before it burns. HCAs are found in char; PAH in smoke. “Turning meat often and cooking on indirect heat can prevent burning,” Carpenter says. Fire up one side of the grill, then cook on the other.

Source: Consumer Reports on Health August 2018

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