Memorial Day is an American tradition when people pay homage to the brave service members who fought so valiantly for the freedoms this country has. It also marks the beginning of the summer season. Summer is the time of year that features outdoor activities such as swimming. No Memorial Day can be complete without people enjoying good times over a barbeque.
A barbequed meal is so tasty that one can never have enough. This is why barbeques are popular in the summer. Many people may not be aware of chemicals that form in barbequed meats as a result of cooking at high temperatures. One chemical that forms in barbequed meats are heterocyclic amines (HCAs), and they have been indicated in laboratory studies to cause cancer in animals.
HCAs form when amino acids in meats (including poultry, pork, beef, and fish) react at high temperatures, especially temperatures above 300ºF. High concentrations of HCAs have been noted in grilled, well-done, and barbecued chicken and steak. Laboratory experiments have found that HCAs trigger changes in DNA that may increase the risk of some cancers.
The role of HCA in cooked meats and its contribution to cancer in humans is debatable, particularly because measuring precise HCA intake is difficult to achieve. However, through meticulous questionnaires researchers have discovered that high intake of fried, well-done, and barbecued meats are linked to an increased risk of some cancers. These include cancers of the colon, pancreas, and prostate.
Barbeques can still be enjoyed by following these tips:
* Cook meats at lower temperatures. The temperature required to kill microorganisms is 160°F.
* A microwave can pre-cook meat and significantly reduce the time the meat is in contact with high heat to complete cooking.
* Flip meats every minute for at least 7 minutes, especially hamburgers. Research shows that this can result in less than 1/10th the level of HCAs compared to flipping once with a cooking time of 8.9 minutes.
* Scrape away charred portions on the meat.
* Use marinades and spices
* Consider using a digital thermometer to determine if the meat reaches appropriate cooking temperatures.
Memorial Day weekend 2013 is a busy weekend in Las Vegas. The UFC is in town hosting UFC 160 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Wet’n’Wild water park officially reopens for business, and Mandalay Bay introduces Light nightclub as the newest party spot on the Las Vegas strip.
Enjoy a good barbeque this Memorial Day while following the helpful tips to minimize exposure to HCAs. Afterward, take part in one of Las Vegas’ countless fun activities. Summer is here!
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