Saturday, May 31, 2014

Grilled Meat and Alternatives

As the sun shines and brings on the summer season, grilling outdoors is an enjoyed pastime. However, consumption of meat that is tossed on the grill should be decreased to reduce overall cancer risk.

Potential risks of red meat:
  • Has been related to cellular damage
  • Stimulates production of N-nitroso compounds that can increase cancer risk
  • Tend to be calorie-dense 
  • High in saturated fat and cholesterol
  • Carcinogens can be formed in meat preserved by smoking, curing, salting or added preservatives
  • Cooking animal foods at high temperatures can produce carcinogens such as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) 
If consumed, aim to keep your portions of red meat small (three ounces per meal) and no more than six times per week. Avoid processed meats; save these foods for special occasions. 

Tips for grilling meat:
  • Marinade meat for at least 30 minutes - can protect against the carcinogens and improve the flavor. Try vinegar, lemon juice, spices and herbs (rosemary, thyme, garlic, sage, red pepper) 
  • Choose lean cuts and trim the fat
  • Do not char or burn the meat
  • Pre-cook meats in the oven to reduce the time spent on the grill
  • Flip your meat frequently
  • Lower the temperature (although still meeting the minimum cooking temperature for food safety)
  • Scrub the grill - cleaning after each use prevents the harmful chemicals from building up and transferring to your next meal

Power up with plant-based meals:
  • Use plant protein sources such as tofu, tempeh and plant-based burgers
  • Consuming a well-balanced diet can provide adequate nutrients for your body to prevent and fight cancer 
  • Plant-based diets play a protective role to inactive damaging compounds 
  • Plant foods are low in calories but nutrient dense
  • Examples of vegetarian grilled meals: bean burgers, stuffed portobello mushrooms, flatbread with grilled vegetables or eggplant roulade