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Braai this weekend? How to reduce cancer-causing HCAs when you braai meat...

by , 30 April 2021
Braai this weekend? How to reduce cancer-causing HCAs when you braai meat...
You've probably read and heard on the news that cooking food - especially meat - at hight temperatures - as is the case with braais - can be bad for you...

The reason for this is the high heat produces chemicals known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) - which scientists have linked to cancer.

But there are ways to still keep enjoying your braais and reduce the HCAs - keep reading to find out how...

Four safer ways to keep enjoying your braais...
 
#1: Use lean meats

When fat from the meats drip down into the coals or fire, they generate another cancer-causing chemical called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which get absorbed into food. This is minimised when you use leaner cuts of meat.
 
#2: Don’t overcook your meat

The more well done the meat is, the higher the risk of carcinogenic HCAs. Therefore, rare, medium-rare or medium are healthier choices than well done. If you’re not too fond of rare, use a meat thermometer and stop cooking when it shows the right temperature. 

#3: Precook your meat

This tip is especially useful for meats that have bones, such as chicken drumsticks. Half cooking the meat on the stovetop or oven, then popping the cuts onto the braai will greatly minimise the formation of HCAs since less cooking time is required. This will also ensure delicious, evenly cooked meats.

Keep reading... 

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#4: Always clean your grill

Clean your grill in between every use. Removing the old fat will reduce smoking, quicken cooking time and reduce HCA formation, not to mention make your food taste better.

BONUS TIP: Don't wrap your food in foil on the braai

Some aluminum gets into food when cooked in foil - and this has been found to increase the risk of Alzheimer's - so don't wrap your food in foil thinking it offers you protection.

Use these tips to keep enjoying your braais while reducing carcinogenic HCAs in your food.

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