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|Q: Do You Have Any Cancer-Prevention Cooking Tips?
A: Gone are the days of the guilt-free barbeque, and for good reason:
meat (including chicken and fish) exposed to high-temperature cooking
conditions form a host of carcinogenic by-products called heterocyclic
aromatic amines, or HAs. Studies have linked increased HA consumption
with greater risks of several types of cancer, including colorectal,
pancreatic, and breast cancer. Because of this, health experts recommend
limiting foods with high HA levels.
Grilling (or barbequing), broiling, and pan frying cause more HAs to
form; however, there are, fortunately for meat lovers, plenty of healthy
prepping and cooking options:
- Marinate: Marinating meat has been shown to decrease HA
production. Experiment with mixtures of vinegar, vegetable oils, and
herbs. Try one made with your favorite beer.
- Cool it down: Use lower temperatures for cooking meats
(300į to 325įF) and cook further away from the heat source (that is, not
over an open flame or in direct contact with the pan). Reduce the
amount of HAs in food by upping the moisture content of the meat. Use
oil or water to minimize contact with the cooking surface.
- Choose your method wisely: Opt for cooking methods that
reduce HA formation. Stewing, simmering, and braising are the best
choices; roasting and baking are also good. Boiling or steaming are good
options, as with chicken soup or fish wrapped in foil.
- Donít overcook: Avoid eating char-broiled meat, chicken, or
fish. If you grill, consider partially cooking your pre-marinaded meat
in the microwave and finishing it on the grill.
- Cut off the bad bits: Remove the browned or blackened
portions of meat and chicken, as this is where these toxic compounds
reside in greatest quantity.
- Go veggie: It is the chemical reactions between animal
protein and heat that cause HAs to form upon cooking. Vegetables donít
share this trait, though, so grill them up and enjoy guilt-free.
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