FREE US Shipping Over $250. Even More Supplement Options At Our Retail Location: (707) 528-HERB

Is Grilled Food Bad for You?

June 27, 2016

Is Grilled Bad for YouAuthor: Dr. Bridget
Grilling season has arrived!

As we celebrate Summer, let us use these days of sunshine for play and sociability, for spending time outside and for moving your body. This weekend remember to stay hydrated with water, electrolytes and other nourishing beverages like chia water or water kefir. This will help keep your muscles fluid, skin healthy, and your immune system balanced.

What about the eats? Whether veggies or meats, I know I’ll be grilling this weekend. But is grilled food bad for you?

There’s nothing more natural, more primal than eating something cooked over a fire, but you may have heard that grilled foods could be unhealthy.

The truth is they can be. High temperature cooking, especially grilling, can create some pretty toxic compounds including heterocyclic amines (HCAs), advanced glycosylation end products (AGEs), and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These are all considered carcinogenic, and instigators of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other inflammatory issues.

HCAs and AGEs are formed when proteins and sugars react at high temperatures. The highest levels of these compounds are found in animal proteins, but these, or related, compounds can be found in many foods cooked at high temperatures, especially those that are fried, browned or blackened.

PAHs are formed differently, as they are a product of carbon combustion. As fats and juices drip into grill fires, the flames rise up, bringing with them PAHs that adhere to whatever is cooking.

Never grill again? I think not!

Instead, enjoy in moderation and try following these simple harm reduction practices. You may find some to be a tasty addition to your grilling routine!

  • Marinate meat in an acidic solution such as wine, vinegar or lemon before cooking, which can reduce the formation of AGEs and HCAs.
  • Rub (or marinate) foods with rich spices, especially rosemary, which can substantially reduce the formation of HCAs. Other strongly antioxidant spices to add are sage, thyme, caraway, chili, paprika, turmeric and coriander.
  • Before grilling, pre-cook meats by parboiling or cooking in a low temperature oven, to shorten the exposure of your foods to high temperatures.
  • Use a chimney starter instead of chemical-based fire starters, and natural charcoal. The added chemicals of fire starters and briquettes add insult to injury, and the natural charcoal imparts better flavor.
  • Go for less charring. The more burnt the food, the higher levels of PAHs. Scrape off any excessively charred portions of your food before consuming.
  • Keep your grill in a well-ventilated area, away from your house. Avoid hanging out by the grill too long, as PAHs are not good for your lungs.
  • There’s some wisdom to bringing coleslaw and sauerkraut to a summer BBQ. Compounds found in cabbage, broccoli and other brassicas can help protect from DNA damaging compounds.
  • Summer berries are also rich in antioxidant compounds that are cancer and vascular protective. If you’ve got a choice, instead of reaching for a flour based dessert (like cookies or cake), which are much higher in carbohydrates, go for the blackberry crisp.

Depending on one’s level of health, there are often ways to work-around some of the potentially negative effects of our less healthy habits.  I strongly believe that enjoying what you love is good for your health, and so is balance!

To your health,

Dr. Bridget

For more summertime soothing and delicious recipes, check out our new Summer Cleanse guide!

★ Customer Reviews

Let customers speak for us

353 reviews
Got Sick - Respiratory Specific
Catherine - San Francisco
Extra-Level Respiratory Support

Nourishing Lung tincture has been our go-to during the now-annual fire season, reducing the impacts of smoke & polluted air, and for providing overall respiratory support.
Got Sick-Respiratory Specific is a great addition for the onset of URIs and other respiratory distress, as it seems to act rapidly and deeply. It's also very effective in combination with Nourishing Lung. My husband was developing a URI following surgery, and before calling the Dr for antibiotics, he opted to try using both tinctures, together with Got Sick regular formula. Significant improvement occurred within 12 hours and he was able to clear it without medication. Highest recommendation.

Thank you for letting us know how these worked for you!

GI Fortify
Kim Metcalf
G.I. Fortify

Like the ease of the capsules. Also use the powder. Excellent way to add fiber and help digestive track. Definitely use it daily.

Intolerance Complex
Kim Metcalf
Intolerance Complex

Helps some when eating dairy or gluten on a occasional basis. Have purchased several bottles over the past few years.

Life saver!

Recommended to me by 2 Naturopaths. this product has helped me out of SIBO issues and also maintained my body's natural gastric process.
Whenever I have a flare up of digestive problems, this product, in combination with garlic and probiotics has helped me restore things without the torment of antibiotics, which destroy your gut lining. I highly recommend staying on an assigned regiment of Candibactin BR for a cure.

Inflamyar Ointment
pam zimmerman

Woks great for pain. The best arnica product I've found.