(Natural News) Most people will not think twice about eating a sizzling steak or hot barbecue fresh off the grill. Behind these tasty foods, however, lurks the risk of getting certain types of cancers. This occurrence is said to notably increase in people who eat meat cooked with high heat. When raw foods are heated beyond 300 degrees F, chemical changes take place, which damage cells and alter proteins in your body once the food is ingested.
The effects of high-temperature cooking
Research shows that consuming foods cooked with high heat can damage genes and threaten health. High-temperature cooking — like frying, grilling, and roasting, to name a few — exposes your body to toxic chemicals including mutagens and advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
Mutagens are agents that damage DNA, which then increases the risk of serious diseases, including heart disease, breast cancer and prostate cancer. AGEs are toxins that damage proteins in the body, leading to loss of functionality and tissue damage — both of which can foster serious health conditions due to oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Glycation products are also known to cause weight gain and premature aging.
AGEs can affect critical molecules in your body – such as antibodies, collagen, enzymes, hemoglobin, hormones, and neurotransmitters – that can lead to serious health risks. While it is impossible to completely eliminate AGEs from your body, your chosen cooking method will determine how much you are exposing yourself to these toxins.
High-temperature cooking also leads to the formation of heterocyclic amines, which are gene-mutating chemical compounds. Heterocyclic amines are linked to cancer of the breast, colon, esophagus, lung, liver, and prostate.
Eating heavily cooked foods increases your risk of cancer
Researchers from the University of Minnesota found that women who ate overcooked hamburgers had an increased risk of breast cancer by more than 50 percent compared to those who chose rare or medium-done burgers. Similarly, the Iowa Women’s Health Study revealed that women who consistently ate well-done steak, hamburgers, and bacon had a 4.62-fold increased risk of breast cancer over women who consumed rare or medium-done meats.
As more for men, recent studies have found that those who consumed even just 1.5 servings or more of processed meat every week increased their risk of advanced prostate cancer by 50 percent. The same is true for men consuming one or more servings of grilled red meat or well-done red meat. Since most men tend to eat heavily cooked food almost daily, it is no surprise that they suffer from prostate cancer in epidemic numbers as they age.
Protect yourself from cancer and other diseases
Like AGEs, it is also impossible to completely eliminate heterocyclic amines from your system because certain naturally occurring enzymatic activities can also produce them as a byproduct. Even seemingly healthy choices like grilled fish can contain a significant amount of heterocyclic amines.
Animal-based foods high in fat and protein generally contain AGEs and often trigger new AGE formation during high-temperature cooking. On the other hand, carbohydrate-rich foods such as vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and milk have relatively low levels of AGEs, even after cooking.
Reduce the number of simple sugars and starches you consume, and avoid exposure to overcooked foods as much as possible to prevent these toxins from damaging your system.
Certain supplements, such as carnosine, benfotiamine, and pyridoxal-5-phosphate, are also believed to act as powerful anti-glycation agents. These supplements can be useful as a complementary tool since even healthy foods, and the avoidance of high-heat cooked meals cannot guarantee your system will stay void of toxic AGEs.