Grilling Tips to Enjoy Your Memorial Day Cookout


Welcome to Dr. David Eifrig’s Health and Wealth
Bulletin. This is Weekly Update. This weekend is Memorial Day, which means
time outdoors and plenty of cookouts. It’s also the second most popular day for
grilling, right after the Fourth of July. That’s why this week, we wanted to go through
some of our favorite tips to help you get the most out of your holiday weekend. We’re going to start with grilling. Now, grilling meat produces two known cancer-causing
compounds: Heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, and poly-cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. Now HCAs form from high-heat cooking. The five foods yielding the highest levels
of HCAs (when prepared well-done) are chicken breast, steak, pork, salmon, and hamburger. PAHs come from the smoke. The cloud of smoke that rises when you open
the top of your grill contains huge amounts of these chemicals. They form when pieces of fat fall into the
fire. Now partially burned-up residue of fuel, like
wood or gas, also contains PAHs. This residue sticks to the surface of food,
but it also adds flavor. Now, the problem is that these compounds damage
the DNA in our cells. Remember, any time DNA mutates or is damaged,
there’s a chance it could turn into cancer. That’s why we want to try to reduce the amount
of these two compounds whenever we can. So first up, cook it low and slow. You want to cook over a lower heat and avoid
letting the flames hit the food. The more rare the meat, the lower the number
of HCAs and PAHs, but you still want to make sure you kill all the bacteria that might
be in the meat. So aim for something in the medium-rare or
medium range for a good balance. And if you do want it well-done, just be sure
to cut off any burnt or charred bits, because those are the ones highest in these cancer-causing
compounds. We recommend getting and using a proper meat
thermometer to make sure you hit the right temperature. It will really help you down the road with
your grilling. Another good option is to go with thin, low-fat
options. If you can, flatten out your food to help
it cook faster and more evenly without burning. And be sure to trim the fat off of cuts of
meat. That’s because as we mentioned, fat from your
meat falls into the fire, and that causes a cloud of PAH-filled smoke. So the more fat on the meat, the more smoke
it will create. Another tip we like to use: don’t pass on
the veggies. Whether you add a fresh salad to your table
or you throw some fresh fruits and vegetables onto the grill, fruit and veggies fight cancer-causing
molecules. In fact, vitamin C neutralizes the harm from
the nitrites that are in the meat. And tomatoes especially are a great addition. Plus, fruits and vegetables are low in fat
but high in fiber. That means they help keep your digestion regular
and the bind up a lot of those bad chemicals, helping them pass through your gut more safely. You can try grilling things like mushrooms,
onions, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, sweet potatoes, corn and even peppers. Now my boss, Dr. David Eifrig, likes to grill
fruit as well, including peaches, papayas, pineapples, and mangos. And if you’re putting together a nice summer
salad, try adding some antioxidant-packed berries. Now for our final tip, and probably our favorite
tip, make sure you grab a beer. That’s because one of the best ways to cut
back on PAHs is to simply marinate your meat in beer before cooking. A Portuguese study in 2014 actually looked
at grilling meats with and without a marinade. Specifically, they looked at three beer-based
marinades. The researchers used pork marinated for four
hours before grilling. They found that the light-beer marinades,
including one beer that did not contain alcohol, led to about 19% fewer PAHs than the non-marinated
meat. But the best was the black-beer-marinated
meat, which had 53% fewer PAHs. Darker beers have higher amounts of antioxidants,
which help fight cancer-causing free radicals. Marinades also add flavor and are very easy
to make. So you should definitely reach for a beer
when you’re making your food. And if you’re worried, the alcohol does cook
off. Just be sure to marinate in your fridge to
keep your meat bacteria-free. And while you’re at it, don’t be afraid to
enjoy a beer with your meal this weekend. Beer, remember, is a good source of B vitamins,
which aid heart health, protect DNA, and protect your nerves. Plus, B6 is needed to make serotonin, an important
chemical messenger in your brain. Similarly, a good summer wine also makes for
a nice pairing with your cookout. Here at the office, we like rosé for the
light, dry taste that pairs well with grilled chicken, fish, and some red meats. And also, wine offers antioxidants, the same
cancer-fighting chemicals. And as a lot of our readers know, wine lowers
blood sugar, decreases risk of dementia, lowers blood pressure, and even fights inflammation. Just keep in mind, everything in moderation. One or two drinks is about average for most
people. But this can change based on your personal
tolerance, your health, and the medications you’re on. So if you can have an occasional drink, enjoy
one this weekend with your cookout. That’s it for today. We hope you have a safe and happy holiday
weekend. Keep your questions and comments coming to
our feedback line. Like, share, and subscribe. And we’ll see you next week.

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