How to Choose and Safely Grill Meat

An older man standing in front of a grill putting a steak on it
The Anticancer Lifestyle Team

Nothing says summer like a good BBQ. At Anticancer Lifestyle, we recommend a plant-based diet. However, if you are going to eat meat we recommend choosing and cooking your meats carefully so you don’t unwittingly cause more inflammation in your body and produce unnecessary toxins while grilling. Here is a handy guide to choosing animal meats by the Anticancer Lifestyle Program Registered Dietitian Crystal Cascio.

How to choose animal meats

Choose animal meats from animals that have been raised the way nature intended, with access to the outdoors. Grass-fed beef has a higher amount of beneficial omega-3 fats when compared to conventional beef. Organically produced meats and dairy have been shown to have higher levels of omega-3 fats when compared to conventional counterparts.

Cook animal meats at low temperatures as high temperatures produce more pro-inflammatory chemicals such as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These have been shown to cause cancer in animal models. Though a direct link to cancer in humans has not been established, epidemiological studies (meaning studies of large populations) have found strong associations between increased consumption of meat cooked well-done or grilled, and cancer.

How to cook animal meats

Marinating meat prior to cooking can reduce heterocyclic amines (HCAs), so consider marinating, mixing or rubbing meat with any of the following prior to cooking: olive oil, cider vinegar, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, salt, herb and spice rubs, homemade sauces, onions or red wine. Removing skin before cooking chicken reduces HCA production significantly.

To learn more about how to choose foods that promote an anti-inflammatory diet, please download our latest eBook, The Anti-Inflammatory Diet.

How to choose veggie burgers

If you want to make veggie burgers, please see our latest Black Bean Burger recipe by the Anticancer Lifestyle Chef and Nutritionist Ananda Kaplan here.

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