Braai and Cancer – What now?

<img src="braaiwors.jpg" alt="Braaiwors" width="138" height="92">

What is this about a Braai giving you cancer?

It’s a Monday morning and throughout this weekend the smell of South African fires filled the air. On top of that was the delectable smell of braaiwors, braai-chops and more. Is there anything more South African than a braai?

Are our “braaivleis” days over?

Studies state that PAH’s (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) are emitted by combusting wood, charcoal and gas. These PAH’s allegedly cause cancer in lab animals. To be more specific, among the types of cancer noted are skin, stomach, liver and other forms of cancer. What about humans?

The study makes the following conclusion: Occupational exposure to PAH’s can be linked to humans due to related epidermiological studies. The reason: Meat contains nitrogen and when this nitrogen comes into contact with an open flame, PAH’s are formed. So, the study claims that grilling meat on a braai may cause cancer and be hazardous to your health.

Another  set of cancer-causing compounds in cooked meat are called Heterocyclic Amines (HCA’s). Studies at UCA (University of California) show that HCA’s are formed when heat and amino acids, as well as the creatinine in animal muscle, mingle.

These experts say that the higher the heat and the longer the cooking time, the more HCA’s are produced. This puts our “vleisbraai”  or BBQ way UP there for HCA’s!

What about National Braai Day?

<img src="Braai.jpg" alt="Braai" width="138" height="92">

This year, our Heritage day, also known as National Braai Day, falls on 24 September. Can we braai more healthy? There should be some way to save our BBQ!

According to Health 24, we can make our BBQ’s more healthy! This is how:

  • Marinated meat reduce HCA’s.
  • Cook your meat in the microwave before you grill it. Get rid of the juices and then only grill your meat  over the open fire.
  • Flip your meat often and reduce those harmful HCA’s.
  • Eat lots of greens with your braai meat to further reduce HCA’s.

Well, thank goodness for THAT! Now we can still enjoy our weekend BBQ! Just be sure to eat lots of greens like lettucue, broccoli, asparagus, cucumber and beans with your favorite meat.

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