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How to Make Grilling Healthier (And Safer)

Grilling can be very healthy -- if you do it right! Here's how.
There has been a lot of talk about grilling and cancer, and it's true that charring meat over an open flame produces carcinogens that may be harmful. The two primary culprits are heterocyclic amines (HCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which are formed when meats come into contact with high heat and flame.

But grilling isn't the only cooking method that produces these cancer-causing agents, experts are quick to point out, and it doesn't mean you have to give up on your grill. The good news is, there's a lot you can do to greatly reduce your cancer risk. For example, by choosing foods that are low in fat and high in nutrients, you can make grilling healthier. Here are more tips for barbecuing burgers, chicken and steak sans cancer-causing compounds:

1

Trim the fat
Leaner meats have less of the greasy drip that can create carcinogen-carrying smoke. So choose leaner cuts and remove excess fat and skin before grilling. For the least fat, opt for a turkey burger or loin cut of beef.

2

Marinate the meat
A marinade with lemon juice, honey, olive oil, and herbs (such as rosemary, basil and oregano) can protect grilled meat from cancer-causing buildup, according to research.

3

Grill more veggies
Grilling fruits and vegetables don't produce the same carcinogens as meat.

4

Cut them up
Smaller pieces of meat cook faster, so they're less likely to burn.

5

Clean the grill
Bits of leftover meat on the rack can drop from the grate to the flames below and create more carcinogen-filled smoke. So scrub your grill right after each use with a wire brush. Use a nonstick cooking spray to prevent future buildup.

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