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Healthy Grilling

Updated on June 12, 2014

Grilling Food

Most of us have heard that there is a link to cancer from grilling food. There is also a link to breathing problems and asthma attacks from the smoke. You do not have to give up grilling foods because of these revelations. There are many things that can be done to prevent some of the problems. This is a lens with information on how to grill healthier.

Being Safe While Grilling

There are many types of indoor grills. Outdoor grills should never be used indoors, even next to the window. Charcoal gives off carbon dioxide, which is colorless, odorless and can be lethal. Also be very careful of the hot charcoals. They should be soaked in water and placed in a fireproof bin or left in the grill outdoors until fully extinguished.

Always have water and a fire extinguisher on hand in case of any mishaps. It is best to use fireproof mittens and the proper long handled grilling utensils.

People have been showing up to ERs after ingesting pieces of metal from wire brushes. It is important that you check your grill after you use the brush. The wire can get stuck in the food cooking and cause internal damage once it is eaten.

The smoke from cooking on a grill can aggravate the breathing of people with respiratory problems. Being around too much smoke is not good for anyone. Everything in moderation.

The Cancer Link In Grilling

Mostly Animal Studies

The evidence is that grilling meats at high temperatures might increase the risk of stomach, colon, pancreatic and even breast and prostate cancer. This is because over cooking or charring meats can form compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCA) and the smoke from fat dripped onto coals can produce polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). Animal studies have shown a carcinogen connection but it is unknown what the effect is on humans. There is a belief that they can increase cancers in humans.

What To Do About Healthy Grilling

  • Keep Grill Clean

    Always clean grill and utensils between uses. Clean out ashes and stuck on food which might be charred and contaminate fresh food.

  • Wash Hands

    Make sure that anyone handling raw meats washes their hands before and after. This will help prevent transferring bacteria to and from the foods.

  • Cut Fat

    Try to pick leaner cuts of meat or trim fat so it wont drip and cause flare-ups. The smoke and flame from fat dripping can cause cancer linked compound PAH to attach themselves to the outside of grilling meats. This is also beneficial if you are not using organic meat. The majority of pesticide residue is found in the fatty part of meats. Might consider thinner cuts of meat or cut into smaller pieces.

  • Marinate

    It is important to marinate your meat first. This cuts down on the carcinogens. Be sure to use the fridge if letting it sit for any length of time and not on the counter at room temperature.

    Marinates can be store bought or home made with a mixture of spices like thyme, oregano, parsley, onion and garlic, also lemon juice, cider vinegar and olive oil.

  • Microwave

    This would make the grilling time less and reduce the HCA formation so try between one minute or more depending on the cut. Throw out the liquid from the cooked meat.

  • Grill vegetables and fruit mostly without peeling. HCA and PAH levels are very low in grilled fruits and vegetables.
  • Pre Heat Grill

    Placing meat on grill that is not hot might cause it to stick and cause it to take longer to cook.

  • Cook At Low Temperature

    HCA is said to form at 325 F, So the suggestion is to cook below or near that. Frequently turn meat to cool surface temperature. Have a spray water bottle handy for flare-ups.

  • Meat Thermometer

    Using a meat thermometer prevents you from over cooking or under cooking the meat. Safety Guidelines are ground meat internal temp to 160F, Poultry to 165F, Meat steaks and roasts 145-160F and fish to 145F.

Grilled Bison

YouTube on Grilling Corn

Grilled corn on the cob with garlic, cayenne, paprika butter

on an electric grill, served with cayenne butter.

without soaking

How To Grill Fish

thick or thin fish and kebabs.

basic tips


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    • Blackspaniel1 profile image


      6 years ago

      Great, grilling can be healthy.

    • Dickstucki1 profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice lens They look great.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I came, I read, I liked what I saw. Have a Squid Angel Memorial Day Weekend Bus Tour blessing! :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Lots of great ideas and info on healthy grilling. Great lens!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks, I do a lot of grilling from meat to seafood to veggies. I do know that if not done properly, I'll only be harming myself and exposing myself to cancer so its good to be well-informed. With healthy grilling, I won't have to give up any of my favorites.

    • VladimirCat profile image


      8 years ago from Australia

      Grilled bison looks appealling. Strange how humans feel a need to cook food isn't it? They should at least learn about healthy grilling! Pass me some grilled fish please

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      9 years ago from Canada

      I just stopped by to wish you, and those who surround you with love, a very merry holiday season. Many blessings in the New Year.



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