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Are you cooking up cancer on your braai?

by , 09 January 2014

There's not a typical South African that would ever say no to a lekker piece of “braaivleis”, but could the way you cook your meat be increasing your risk of developing cancer? It's true! And while no one is trying to snatch the tongs from your hands just yet, simply add some of these steps to your normal braai to give your meal a healthier twist.

Overcooking your meat on the braai has the potential to cause your body to develop cancer. The most significant of which are breast, colon, prostate, stomach and pancreatic cancers.
 
And since men generally eat more braai meat than women, they have a significantly higher risk of developing cancer! The scariest aspect of this is men have a 30% increase in the risk of developing prostate cancer simply by eating overcooked braai meat.
 
But women don’t come off any more lightly! Eating meat cooked at high temperatures causes a higher risk in breast cancer development. 
 
Luckily, you can keep braaing if you change a few habits.
 
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What can you do to prevent cooking up cancer on your braai?
 
Healthy braai tip #1:
 
Microwave your meat for a couple of minutes before you toss it on the braai. You’ll notice a lot of liquid in the bottom of the dish after microwaving, throw this out! It’s this fatty liquid that drips onto the fire and smokes into your meat and contains compounds that could cause cancer.
 
Healthy braai tip #2:
 
Wrap meat in foil or use foil as a layer between the grill and the meat. This will prevent liquid dripping into the flames. 
 
It’ll also stop the meat from blackening from the fire and picking up the charred pieces from the well-used grill. 
 
Healthy braai tip #3:
 
Marinade your meat! Mix garlic, onion lemon juice and red wine for this. 
 
Along with things like rosemary and virgin olive oil, these ingredients reduce the amount of harmful compounds meat produces upon heating.
 
We’re sure you’re grateful we didn’t say throw the braai out immediately… But please make sure you’re taking your health into account when you’re enjoying a late afternoon Saturday braai with your family and friends this weekend!
 

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