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Grilling and Cancer

Submitted by Sharon Hopkins on July 6, 2007

It is a beautiful sunny day and you just canít help but bring out the griller and put on some hamburger patties, hotdogs, and other delicious stuff that you like to grill and barbecue. This is a very common occurrence in a lot of families around the world. Unfortunately, not all of them are aware of the dangers that grilling food can bring about.

Grilled foods, especially those a little bit burned on the edges are the supposed to be cancer forming foods. Why?

It is said the when meat, specifically red meat and chicken meat, is cooked in very high temperatures, the creatine found in the muscle cells of these food products are converted into heterocyclic amines which may be harmful to the body because they are somewhat related to cancer. A lot of controversy has been raised with regards to these claims and based on current researches, it has seemed to be so.

Fortunately, this does not mean that you have to give up on grilled foods altogether.

There have also been data showing that grilled meat is better than fried meat because by grilling, the unwanted fats and oils are drained from the meat whereas in frying, you contribute more to the fat content of the meat because of the frying oil being used. In fact, some diets prescribe having grilled chicken breast as a good source of protein which is best combined with a green leafy vegetable salad.

It is probably not grilled foods per se that contributes to the formation of cancer cells but more of how the food was prepared and cooked via the grill.

Since extremely high temperatures in cooking tend to char the meat on the outside but raw in the inside, it is better to cook the meat over a slow medium fire so as to make sure that it is cooked evenly on all sides including the central part of the meat. To be able to accomplish this, place the grill rack a bit farther from the charcoal, just right for it not be reached by the flames that tend to scorch the meat. It may take a several more minutes to be able to cook the food properly but at least you can be sure that it is safe from unwanted chemical formations that are carcinogenic.

Grilled chicken and ground meat should be cooked well done to avoid any bacterial growth on the meat. Just follow the procedure on how to cook the meat to make sure that the meat is properly and fully grilled before serving.

If you are really intent in having a barbecue, then you can marinade the meat first before placing it on the grill. In this way, the meat retains a bit of its moisture while cooking, thus not getting burned but ending up juicy and tasty, not to mention the mouth watering aroma it produces while being grilled. Also, inject a bit of creativity onto your grilling recipes, like placing the meat in combination with fruits and vegetables in a stick to be able to limit your ingestion of grilled meat, being able to eat some vegetables, and avoid the formation of cancer as well.

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