Grilling & Reducing Carcinogens
We have known for well over a decade, that grilling meat results in carcinogens called HCA’s. HCA’s result when you grill meat a high temperatures which produces molecules in the meat called heterocyclic amines. These toxic compounds are the same carcinogens that are found in cigarette smoke. Meat contains amino acids, such as creatine. This is why meat helps build muscle when working out. It also contains sugars. Together when these are heated at high temperatures, the compounds are converted to carcinogenic molecules. Carcinogens are cancer causing.
Here is a list of foods with the greatest HCA’s when grilling in descending form most to least;
Grilling vegetables not an issue as they do not contain creatine with sugar, just sugar. Worst news of all is that BBQ sauce increases the HCA’s by TRIPLE! Always avoid any sugary sauce or marinade with high fructose syrup, fructose syrup or corn syrup. Some foods produce an unusually high number of HCA’s. The worst unfortunately is barbecue sauce. Make your own sauce or if buying commercial, in the least, be sure to avoid any product where these ingredients appear in the label. When using BBQ Sauce, apply it after cooking the meat and not on the grill. Fully cook the meat and then toss it in the BBQ sauce in a bowl. Although you cannot fully eliminate HCA’s, you can drastically reduce them with these simple changes that follow. Charring meats on the grill greatly increases the HCA compounds.
So what reduces HCA’s in cooking? Try these delicious options;
1. Turmeric-Garlic Sauces and Marinades REDUCE HCA’s by as much as 50%
2. Teriyaki Sauces (without corn syrups) REDUCE HCA’s by as much as 67%
3. Thinner vinegar-based marinades and sauces REDUCE the amount of HCA’s you ingest overall
4. Your recipe for a vinegar-based marinade should include vinegar, lemon, and the herbs and spices in the list below.
5. Turn the meat often to avoid charring
6. Cook initially with high heat, then turn the burner off below the meat and move it up to a higher rack. This “bakes” the meat similar to the oven. Cook longer and at lower temperature after initial high heat on both sides to seal in the juices. Any charring can be trimmed off and discarded after grilling before serving.
4. Add these herbs and spices to your marinades and sauces to reduce HCA’a and carcinogens. There are 3 compounds that help to fight cancer when added to your recipe; carnosol, carnosic acid, and rosmarinic acid– all potent antioxidants that boost and support your immune system. Marinading your meat before grilling actually reduces the carcinogens by as much as 99%. These herbs need to be in your marinades and sauces, not all at once of course, but choose from this list. They include the following;
Using a marinade is simple. Use about 1/2 cup of vinegar and/or lemon juice plus the herbs you wish to use, for every 1 pound of meat. You can also add soy sauce, tamari, or vinegar-based salad dressings for more flavors. Meat needs to be covered, so you can add more if needed. Allow the meat to set in the marinade for 15-20 minutes or longer depending upon your recipe, before grilling. The longer you marinate, the more the flavor. The anti-cancer compounds are effective almost right away. For more flavor, marinade longer or use more herbs. Herbs not on this list can be added for the flavor you are looking for in your recipe, just add these anti-cancer herbs in addition. Such as, you’ll probably want garlic or onion, which is not on this list but still very healthy and beneficial. Herbs on this list contain the 3 compounds we discussed which is why we always include them in the recipes. Just choose the ones that best suit your flavor need.