Barbecuing or grilling foods is fun. It has a lot of advantages including health benefits. But there are some health concerns as well linked to it.

Some associate grilling with carcinogenicity. What is the best way to barbecue to reduce the cancer risk of cooking directly over a flame?

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Barbecuing and the advantages

Barbecuing is cooking over direct flame. It is more fun. People enjoy those times and foods. The taste of food is better. One can cook food in bulkier amounts.

Since it is done outside in an open place, there is less messiness inside the house. Therefore, the requirement of cleaning the place after cooking is less.

Barbecuing (Source: Farm and dairy)

One gets to spend time outdoors in the fresh air. This we rarely do in urban life. Most of the time, grilling food on fire is also a time of socializing and getting together. It is a time of fun, merriment, and enjoyment.

The cancer risk of cooking meat

One can cook vegetables safely on the grill or barbecue. But while cooking meat on an open flame, there is a risk of carcinogens developing in the meat.

This increases the risk of cancer in the person consuming this meat often. This takes place due to the following mechanism.

There is creatine in the meat that will be cooked. When exposed to high direct heat, this creatine gets converted into a cancer-causing compound.

Barbecuing (Source: Answers for everyone)

Additionally, the fat that drips off the meat onto the direct flame also converts into a carcinogen. This attaches to the cooked meat. Both these compounds can induce cancer in the person.

How to reduce this cancer risk?

To reduce the risk of cancer from barbecued meat, one way is to marinate the meat for at least 20 minutes before cooking it. A marinade made at home from lemon juice, some seasoning, and olive oil is simple and good.

If you opt for commercial marinade choose one that has low sugar and salt. This marinade has antioxidants in it that will help to overcome the cell damage produced by the cancerous compound.

Additionally consume more fruits and vegetables such as avocados, nuts, and seeds for the same reasons. The healthy fats in them are also useful.

Barbecuing with aluminum foil (Source: Tree hugger)

Cut down on the grilling time. This will automatically minimize the formation of the carcinogen and the risk. For this, use smaller sizes of meat.

Or one can start cooking the meat in an oven or stove and complete the process in the barbecue. One can use aluminum foil to cover the meat. This speeds up the cooking time and reduces meat dripping on the flame.

Read more: Grilling foods: Pros and cons of this cooking technology!

You can also use lean meat so that fat is less drip. Do not overcharge for the meat. One should clean the grill well before use.

And keep a water bottle at hand to douse the flames if they flare up. One can also opt for plant-based options of meat. These are healthier with more fiber.