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Barbecue Summer

Whether or not the met office promises us a barbecue summer, many of us use these months to enjoy grilled meat.  If you have heard of hazards associated with grilling meat at high temperatures, you might have come across Advanced Glycation End products (AGE) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH’s).  A bit of a mouthful, but essentially these compounds occur when we grill at high temperatures, particularly when meat or fish forms a crust on the outside.   These compounds have been associated with cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, so it is important to know how to avoid them.  Fortunately, marinating meat prior to cooking has been shown to reduce these compounds by up to 97% as well as rendering food easier to cook and far more delicious.  The most effective marinades are citrus fruits such as lemon or lime.  Combine this with aromatic herbs and spices such as rosemary, oregano, marjoram, turmeric, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, or cumin. The longer you marinate the better, but even ten minutes makes a significant difference.  Accompany your meal with onions, garlic, and a salad containing apple cider vinegar in the dressing.  If you finish your meal with a fruit salad containing berries you have little to fear from AGE compounds and PAH’s.  Enjoy.

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