Healthy Grilling Basics

With the summer unofficially starting this weekend, I thought this would be a perfect time to share some easy tips to keep your BBQs both tasty and healthy:

  • Reduce PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and HCAs (Heterocyclic amines) – These are the two carcinogens produced via the char (HCAs) and smoke (PAHs) associated with grilling. To reduce carcinogens, cook meat at lower heats (hence producing less char). Also, cook meats over a base of perforated tinfoil to prevent meat drippings from becoming toxic smoke.
  • Keep it Clean – After cooking, make sure to dry-scrub the grill with a wire bbq brush so you don’t leave any charred bits behind for your next grilling session.
  • Add herbs – Don’t forget to add herbs to meat while marinating and grilling to up the antioxidant factor and lower carcinogens. Some great herbs to add include rosemary, basil, mint, sage, savory, marjoram, oregano, garlic and thyme.


Happy Memorial Day

Rosemary + Meat = BFFs

I keep reading how the common herb we warmly know as rosemary seems to stop cancer cold in its tracks. More specifically, food scientists have found that rosemary inhibits the formation of HCAs – carcinogenic compounds that form when you cook protein – by as much as 79%! (This study in particular took place at Kansas State University) Include rosemary in your next marinade, especially when bbq-ing or cooking at high temperatures, for a significantly healthier meal! Other herbs that reduce cancer causing compounds include: basil, mint, sage, savory, marjoram, oregano, garlic and thyme.

{Rosemary Infused Grilled Chicken Breasts – Image & Recipe from}

Here are some more tips from Natural News for reducing the risk of cancer from cooked meats:
  1. Cook at lower temperatures. The higher the temperature the more HCAs and other cancer causing compounds are formed.
  2. Bake whenever possible. With baking it is easier to control temperature and the highest amount of cancer causing compounds are produced by grilling, barbecuing and pan frying.
  3. Don’t make gravy from meat drippings. The National Cancer Institute warns that meat drippings – even from meats cooked at lower temperatures – contain substantial amounts of HCAs.
  4. Limit consumption of meats, especially high-fat meats, reduce the portion sizes, select lean cuts and trim the fat on meats.
  5. Avoid charring meat and eating charred parts.
  6. Be sure to eat at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables.