It’s one of the first signs that summer is about to begin. Memorial Day, which is intended to be a day of observance for those who died in military service, is typically celebrated with outdoor BBQs and pool parties.
But Brain Warriors should know that eating charred steaks, burgers, chicken, or hot dogs is not the way to celebrate anything. Consuming charred meats has long been associated with an increased the risk of developing breast, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers. But did you know that eating well-done animal proteins has also been linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?
Grilling meat at high temperatures causes the formation of carcinogenic chemicals called PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and HCAs (heterocyclic amines). Research shows that well-done meats also produce glycotoxins called Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs), which have been implicated in age-related dementia.
If you want to grill this Memorial Day, but you want to lower the risk, follow these tips.
Flip often. Flipping meat frequently helps prevent the formation of HCAs.
Trim the fat. The juices that drip from the fat create more flames and more smoke, which contribute to more cancer-promoting chemicals.
Marinate meats. Studies show that marinades have a protective effect by reducing the formation of HCAs when grilling.
Cool it, baby. Reducing the heat on the grill lowers the flames, which helps prevent charring and the formation of carcinogens.
Reduce grilling time. More time on the grill adds up to more harmful HCAs, PAHs, and AGEs. Try cooking meats first then flash-grilling them for show, or take them off the grill before they become charred.
Think surf not turf. Grilling seafood or fish produces less of the chemical culprits than animal proteins, so throw some shrimp (or scallops or salmon) on the barbie instead of burgers.
Grill veggies or fruit. Cook the burgers inside and use the grill for veggie skewers with your favorites (I like red peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms) or even fruit skewers. For these, opt for firm fruits like pineapple, peaches, or melons.
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