Many people may rave about the barbecued plantain also known as “Bole”, Fish and yam cook outdoors, what are Bole and Fish – The Hazardous Food People Rave About.
You should know that there are actually carcinogens that form when meat, fish, yam and plantain is cooked over high heat.
The fire, smoke, and effects of barbecue cause a chemical reaction and the compounds that form are hazardous to your health. If you love the taste of grilled food, you should recognize that it is not a healthy method of cooking.
The Carcinogen in the Barbecue Form when:
- Meat is cooked at high temperatures
- Juices from meat drips down and the flames hit the meat
- When meat is cooked over a long period of time
Compounds that are carcinogens form when meat is cooked at a temperature of about 300 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
It is a chemical reaction that occurs in all meats, and their formation is dependent on time and temperature, which is why well-done meats are the riskiest to ingest.
One study found that well-done meat had 3.5 times the heterocyclic amines (HCA) of medium rare meat.
Well-done meats and HCAs are associated with an increased risk of cancers of the breast, prostate, and pancreas.
Carcinogens damage our DNA, which can lead to changes in cell division and eventually cancer, which is characterized by abnormal cell proliferation.
The simplest way to avoid these carcinogens in cooking is to limit meat in your diet since that is your biggest source of exposure.
In addition to HCAs and PAHs formed during cooking, meat contains several elements that cause harm to your health when consumed excessively, including animal protein, arachidonic acid and heme iron.
Minimizing Health Threats
To minimize these threats to your health, limit the number and size of your portions of meat.
- Avoiding direct exposure of meat to an open flame or a hot metal surface and avoiding prolonged cooking times (especially at high temperatures) can help reduce HCA and PAH formation (READ).
- Using a microwave oven to cook meat prior to exposure to high temperatures can also substantially reduce HCA formation by reducing the time that meat must be in contact with high heat to finish cooking (READ).
- Continuously turning meat over on a high heat source can substantially reduce HCA formation compared with just leaving the meat on the heat source without flipping it often (MORE).
- Removing charred portions of meat and refraining from using gravy made from meat drippings can also reduce HCA and PAH exposure (Continue).
For occasional meat-eaters, here are some strategies to employ next time you grill to reduce HCAs and PAHs:
- Cook item without direct contact with flame (Tip: Wrap meat in foil to cook).
- Pre-cook in microwave to reduce grill time.
- Marinate with liquid or polyphenol-rich herbs and spices (Some examples: cloves, thyme, rosemary, Mexican oregano, celery seed, turmeric, ginger, sweet basil).
- Flip item frequently.
- Avoid charring or remove charred portions from item.
- Don’t eat gravy made from meat drippings.
- Eat anti-cancer foods, along with meat and/or eat more beans in the meal when meat is eaten.