Nutritionists Now Harping on Barbecues That Sidestep Cancer Risk

by Tanya Thomas on Jul 4 2009 11:56 AM

Barbecues that can sidestep raising cancer risks seem the new thing that nutrition experts are offering tips on.

According to specialists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, the trick is to stick to plenty of fruits and vegetables, and less meat.

M. D. Anderson dietician Vicki Piper said that diets rich in plant foods can reduce various cancers risks since they provide a range of nutrients that protects the body from the disease.

Piper said: "You can still have a barbeque without letting your health go up in flames. Aim for a meal made up of two-thirds vegetables, fruits, whole grains or beans, and one-third animal protein."

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, diets high in red meat, such as beef, pork and lamb, and especially processed meats, including hot dogs, may be a strong cause of colorectal cancer since they boost saturated fat which is the most damaging type of fat.

Piper added: "You do not need to give up red meat to be healthy, but the evidence suggests you would be wise to limit how much you eat. Experiment with other healthier sources of protein, such as fish, chicken, beans, edamame or tofu. My red meat-loving husband has grown to enjoy more grilled salmon, marinated chicken and even hummus!"

Experts further suggested grilling vegetables and fruits since the process does not produce carcinogens, the sources that cause cancer.

And if you decide to barbeque meat, here are some tips on how to stay clear of burning it:

Grill fish instead. Fish contains less fat than meat and poultry do, making it less likely to create carcinogens and cause flare-ups caused by dripping fat. Fish also requires less time on the grill, reducing its exposure to carcinogens.

Precook your foods. Partially cooking meat or poultry indoors for two to five minutes draws out most of the potentially harmful chemicals without sacrificing moistness. Heat your meat up in the microwave or oven, and then finish it on the grill.

Clean your grill. Scrub your grill thoroughly after every use to avoid a buildup of carcinogens that can be transferred to your food the next time you grill.

Spread aluminum foil on the grill. This will reduce flare-ups. Just make sure to make small holes in the foil to allow fat to drain.

Flip meat frequently. This reduces the amount of carcinogens that arise.

Marinate your food. Marinating not only makes grilled foods taste better, but makes them safer because marinades draw out chemical precursors of carcinogens.