It's delightful to grill outdoors when the weather is warm. Unfortunately, grilling meats can lead to the production of carcinogenic (potentially cancer-causing) chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HAs). To reduce HAs, try the following:
- Limit the quantity of meat you grill, and make grilled vegetables the main course.
- Pre-cook your foods in the oven or on the stovetop and finish them off outdoors - less grill time means fewer carcinogens.
- If you do grill meat, cook it thoroughly but avoid charring or blackening it (don't eat any blackened parts).
- Marinate your meats. Marinade may help reduce HA formation, especially if it's made with spices such as ginger, rosemary and turmeric.
- Avoid charcoal lighter fluid or self-starting packages of briquettes in a charcoal grill - they will leave residues of toxic chemicals in your food. A healthy alternative is an inexpensive chimney lighter that uses a small amount of newspaper to ignite a mass of charcoal in a large metal cylinder. Gas grills are good alternatives to those that use charcoal.
Along with grilling, try making True Food Kitchen's Watermelon & Heirloom Tomato Salad this 4th of July!