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Marinade reduces carcinogenic substances when grilling
As soon as it gets warmer, we get the grill out of the shed. But grilling is not exactly good for your health. However, there are always alarming warnings in the media about carcinogenic substances that arise when grilling. Dr. Monika Gibis from the Department of Food Physics and Meat Science at the University of Hohenheim has examined the contamination of grilled food and gives tips for a health-friendly barbecue. So it depends on the right method of preparation and the marinade.
Carcinogenic substances are created when grilling
The formation of carcinogenic substances cannot be completely avoided when grilling, but it can be drastically reduced. The type of preparation is decisive, Gibis reports. The marinade can also contribute to health-friendly grilling pleasure.
There are basically three substance groups that can be classified as harmful when grilling: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAA) and nitrosamines. "PAHs are generated in very high heat, that is, increased at over 400 ° C, HAA, however, already from 120 ° C," explains Gibis. The substances can significantly increase the risk of cancer. All HAAs are classified as probable or possibly carcinogenic for humans and the PAH with its lead substance benzopyrene is assessed as carcinogenic. In particular, they are said to increase the risk of tissue changes in the large intestine.
The amount of carcinogenic substances can be easily reduced when grilling
To find out how to reduce the load on the food to be grilled, the scientist and her colleagues examined numerous meat samples. "For research, we need relatively large amounts of food to be grilled, but this must always be uniform," reports Gibis. "We therefore produce a type of hamburger that has a defined shape." This allowed the influence of various factors on the formation of pollutants to be examined under controlled conditions.
“Meat is basically a high quality food. Among other things, it contains essential amino acids, B vitamins, trace elements, iron and zinc, ”emphasizes the expert. In her opinion, grill fans do not have to do without enjoyment. Because the formation of pollutants could be inhibited with simple measures. "How harmful barbecuing is depends largely on the amount of PAH, HAA and nitrosamines - and this can be significantly reduced by gentle preparation methods," says Gibis.
Tips for healthy grilling
Grill fans should be careful not to let fat drip into the embers and avoid lighting the fat. Because the smoke creates more PAHs on the food. If you use aluminum trays, you can catch the drops. Aluminum is suspected of causing dementia, but this only applies to the dissolved form of the light metal. Acidic marinades that could dissolve the aluminum should not be used.
Electric and gas grills are generally less harmful to health than grilling with coal because less PAHs are formed. When grilling over charcoal, the meat should only be grilled briefly hot and hot. Then it can slowly finish cooking on the cooler edge or wrapped in aluminum foil.
The coal should always have burned well. "It should no longer burn and should have formed a complete layer of white ash," says the university. Only charcoal and charcoal briquettes should be used, no paper or resinous wood.
Pay attention to the correct marinade when grilling
Marinade makes the meat spicy and is good for the meat quality. "But the marinade also applies, of course, that it should not drip into the embers," warns Gibis. “Among other things, free radicals are involved in the formation of HAA. So you try to inhibit HAA formation with antioxidants. ”And that works with the right marinade.
Scientists have investigated the antioxidant effects of various ingredients that are often used in marinades. According to this, marinades with onions and garlic as well as with rosemary and grape seed extract could significantly reduce the formation of HAA. The most effective was a marinade with garlic, ginger, thyme, rosemary and cayenne pepper. It was able to reduce the generation of HAAs by 74 percent compared to a non-marinated comparative sample. (sb)