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Health Issues the Good and Bad Sides of Outdoor Grilling

When the sizzling hot temperatures approach, for many of us food lovers, it means it is time to get out our sizzling hot grill out and enjoy some good old sizzling hot grilling.
Who doesn’t enjoy after all some juicy steaks or mouth-watery hot dogs or hamburgers along with a refreshing salad?

Grilling has become almost a synonym with summer and we all look forward to invite family and friends over to spend some time together along with good food. Just the smell and noise of smoking meat is sufficient to provide a nice friendly atmosphere, perhaps inside a nice gazebo or around a pic-nic table.

Most of us enjoy the simple fact of staying outdoors and eating tasty grilled meat but it often doesn’t pass our minds though that what appears to be healthy grilling can turn out being much less than healthy.

Heterocyclic Amines and Polycylcic Aromatic Hydrocarbons may sound as complex words for most of us, but if we look carefully into their meanings we may look at grilling in a whole different way.

Heterocyclic amines are cancer causing compounds that appear linked with the grilling of muscle meat and it has shown potential to cause cancer in animals and very possibly people.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons instead are cancer causing compounds produced by fats leaking onto the hot coals and then being released through the smoke. The smoke produced releases these compounds that coat the meats we eat.

However, the above cancer causing compound do not necessarily mean that you should ban grilling from your summer time get-alongs, rather there are some steps you can take to reduce the amount of these compounds from depositing on your meats.

-Marinate your meats before grilling. It is still not known the dynamics behind why marinades reduce these cancer causing compound but it is good to know and after all marinaded meats are more tender and more flavorful.

-Grill a lot of veggies along with the meat. You want to reduce your meat intake so having corn, beans or grilled Portobello’s on the side will make your guests and yourself less likely to consume only meat based foods.

-Do not overcook or char your meat. The more charring the more cancer causing compounds there will be on your steak. Cook your meat slower and at lower temperatures. If you have a gas grill put the rack higher so it is farther from the smoke and flames.

-Finally, grill occasionally. Once in while, grilling should not pose much health risks when compared to those grilling every other day. Grilling too often also takes away that “uniqueness” and turns it more into a routine, thus a less attractive event.

Continue to enjoy your outdoor grilling, it is a great way to stay with family and friends, just use some moderation and caution and remember to use everybody’s favorite marinade!