5 Helpful Tips About Grilling & Your Gut
The sun is beaming and warming your skin. The sky is blue with puffy clouds lazily floating overhead.
The birds are chirping their happy tunes.
And your nose is being tickled with the scent of fresh-cut grass.
What better way to spend it than next to a pool with juicy burgers and hotdogs frying on the grill?
It sounds wonderful, but then again, you just heard that grilling causes cancer.
Maybe just the fruit and potato salads then?
Don’t skip those delicious, juicy meats just yet! There is still hope.
Why Grilling is Potentially Dangerous
There are the obvious dangers like singeing off your arm hair. The dangers we are talking about are less easy to notice.
When you grill meat — especially greasy meats — the grease drops into the flames and causes chemicals to be released known as the Maillard reaction.
The Maillard reaction is what gives your food that signature grill browning, but is also what ultimately leads to the chemicals that can cause cancer.
Maillard reactions result from any cooking at extremely high temperatures like grilling, baking, and roasting.
Heterocyclic aromatic amines (HCAs) are the chemicals that result from grilling. The main HCAs studied include PhIP, MeIQx, and DiMeIQx.
Grilling 101: How to Avoid Disease-Causing Chemicals
So these chemicals sound less than desirable. Here are a few ways to keep your grill craving satisfied without putting your body at risk.
That’s right! Slap on all that extra good flavor to make your food extra tasty and help to avoid nasty chemicals.
Not all marinades are created equal though, so make sure to choose wisely.
PhIP levels were lowered by 45% at 10 minutes of cooking time and 67% at 15 minutes of cooking time.
MeIQx levels were lowered by 44% at 10 minutes and 60% at 15 minutes.
Honey Barbeque Sauce
PhIP and MeIQx levels both increased when cooking with honey bbq sauce.
Cooking a mixture that includes sugar can decrease chemicals emitted by 92%. However, when the base is mainly sugar, MeIQx levels increase.
Using herbs not only protects your meat by up to 86% from the chemical toxins, but it also provides your body with antioxidants and polyphenols that can help your body to fight the free radicals from the chemicals that pass through.
As a general rule of thumb, using thinner marinades — that are more vinegar based and contain less sugar — will help to lower the risk of HCAs created through grilling.
Low and Slooooowwww
Keeping your grill from being on the inferno setting will definitely help you to achieve this. Going for a more medium temperature will help to reduce HCAs being thrown into your food.
Cooking at lower temperatures for longer periods of time will create a tastier end product anyway.
Toss the Char
There are a few people out there that enjoy that burned, chalky, black crust on their food, but not only is it gross, it’s also incredibly bad for you. Char is basically a little chemical bomb waiting to detonate and cause cancer in your body.
Minimize your char intake by:
- Thoroughly cleaning your grill before you use it
- Cutting off the charred pieces before you eat your food
Grill Your Greens
Okay, so not everything has to be green. But you definitely should start throwing some fruits and veggies on the grill while you’re BBQing.
Not only do they add great flavor to your dish, but you’ll also be getting some extra benefits!
When you cook fruits and vegetables they start to break down a bit before you eat them which makes the nutrients more easily available to your body.
While it isn’t true for all produce — and some may actually have too high of a glycemic index after cooking — it’s fun to experiment and see what tastes great when it’s been grilled.
Well-Done May Not Be So Well Done
Overcooking meats can actually raise the HCA content in them.
When compared to medium-rare meat, well-done meats actually had 3.5 times the amount of HCAs.
Those of you that like your meat a little pinker, actually are doing yourselves a HUGE favor.
Meat Type Matters
When it comes to grilling, going for the less greasy and fatty choices are better.
Chicken is the best choice since it throws out less grease.
Meats like sausage and beef have a lot more grease and therefore have higher HCAs when grilled.
Pork is actually the worst of them all and contains the most HCAs when cooked.
How Will Grilling Affect Your Microbiome?
This definitely will differ between foods and cooking/marinade methods, but in general, most grilled things seem to help boost beneficial bacteria.
In one study, most foods when grilled increased good bacteria — especially Ruminococcus and Bifidobacterium species.
Although when bread and bananas were cooked, the high temperatures actually decreased the good bacteria levels.
What you are choosing to grill matters too.
Choosing grass-fed lean meats opposed to fatty, processed meats will make a world of difference in the health of your 4th of July dinner and gut health.
Remember that eating too much red meat can increase your levels of TMAO which can lead to heart and kidney diseases and increase bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
So try to limit the burgers and stick to lean meats instead.
How Atrantil Can Help Fight Side Effects From Grilling
Since Atrantil is made from polyphenols it can help to fight these undesirable effects that grilling can have on your body.
Polyphenols help to signal and promote antioxidants and their process in fighting free radicals.
So just in case you eat a little bit of char, or you like your food well-done you’ll still be okay as long as you’re getting those health-promoting polyphenols.
Ingesting polyphenols and antioxidants daily can help to prevent these mutations that can lead to life-altering diseases like cancer.
Enjoy your grilling without the worry by marinating, cooking slowly and taking Atrantil!
Let us know your favorite (healthy) marinade for summer grilling in the comments below.