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Grilling May Increase Your Risk of High Blood Pressure

With summer in full swing, it seems like the perfect time to get outside and fire up the grill. From backyard BBQ’s to pool parties, summer and grilling go hand-in-hand. But did you know that regularly grilling your food may increase your risk of developing high blood pressure?

A recent study presented by the American Heart Association found that people who eat grilled beef, chicken, or fish on a regular basis may have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. This doesn’t mean that all grilled food is bad for you, but it is important to pay attention to the temperature at which grilled foods are prepared.

According to the study, people who grill their meat to well-done are 15% more likely to develop high blood pressure than those who grill their meat less thoroughly. Researchers believe this is linked to the chemicals released in animal meat when it reaches high temperatures, which has been associated with atherosclerosis and other heart disease. Additionally, those who eat grilled meats at high temperatures more than 15 times a month were found to have a 17% higher risk for hypertension compared to those who ate grilled meats less than four times a month. This doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy an outdoor party. Here are some tips for grilling healthier this summer:

  • Invest in a thermometer fork. When you’re preparing food on the grill, it can be difficult to determine when your food is cooked well enough to eat. With a meat thermometer, you’ll be able to check the internal temperature periodically to ensure your food is cooked to the perfect temperature. Most meats are safe to eat after the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 140°F. Try not to exceed 170°F, as this is considered well-done temperatures and is associated with a higher risk of heart disease.
  • Grill fruits for desert. Try grilling sliced pineapple, watermelon, or peaches. As they cook on the grill their natural sugar caramelizes, making them a tasty and healthy summer dessert.
  • Make vegetable kabobs as a side dish. Place your favorite veggies on a skewer and grill them for approximately 10 – 15 minutes. Regardless of what vegetables you choose, they will be a much healthier side compared to traditional French fries or potato chips.

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