Ask Dr. Salerno Health

Reducing Cancer Risks when Barbecuing

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines are produced when foods particularly meat are cooked on a grill and are known carcinogens. The process occurs when amino acids in protein combine with creatine. This creates the black charring we see on the food and grill which is the HCA’s.

This process is not restricted to meats. Fish, poultry, lamb, pork will all also produce these toxic chemicals. Can we eliminate these risk as we approach the high season of grilling?

Yes, there are several approaches.

Firstly, flip your food often to avoid charring. Marinate the food in olive oil or butter which acts as a shield to prevent the formation of these toxic chemicals. Add your favorite herbs and spices which are antioxidants and will prevent the formation of these compounds. Simple steps will go a long way to avoid health risks while enjoying your favorite barbecue. And of course keep taking your antioxidants!