Summer is here and for many families that will mean more grilling. Barbecue gatherings are a popular social option during the warm months. People love being able to cook outdoors and get to taste that grill flavor on their food. Unfortunately, not all common grilled foods are good for our health. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and sausages are highly processed and high in fat, which is not beneficial for heart health. Research has shown that cooking meat at high temperatures and / or for long periods of time can cause chemical reactions that increase the risks of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Fortunately, there are many methods to make grilling more heart-healthy, and the American Heart Association recommends these five steps.
1. Pick Healthier Proteins
Avoid fatty and highly processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage, and hamburgers. Instead, choose leaner meat such as turkey or chicken. Fish is also a good option.
2. Cut Meat into Smaller Pieces or Pre-Cook
The chemical reactions that are linked with cancer and heart disease build-up when fatty muscle meat is cooked for long periods of time and / or at a high temperature. Cutting the meat into smaller pieces so it cooks faster or pre-cooking the meat beforehand can help lower those risks.
3. Use Spices
Preliminary research has shown that using spices such as pepper may help reduce those harmful chemical reactions that increase the risks of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Also, there are antioxidants in many spices and herbs that have anti-inflammatory effects that help prevent disease.
4. Add Some Vegetables
Vegetables are a great side dish option that can also be grilled. Add some vegetables to your meal as a side, or you could make an entire meatless meal on the grill.
5. Don’t Forget Heart Healthy Side Dishes
Follow the same rule of avoiding highly processed and high-fat foods when it comes to your side dishes. Fruit or bean salads are good options for a healthy side dish to go with your lean grilled meats.
- 5 steps for a heart-healthy grilling season. www.heart.org. (2022, June 27). Retrieved June 29, 2022
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