Expert advice for a light and healthy barbecue
Raise your hand if you, with the arrival of summer and warmer and longer days, do not immediately think about organizing a barbecue in the open air. Barbecue is one of the most pleasant, social and certainly tasty cooking methods but also lighter and healthier. Yes, grilled meat or fish are considered lighter and less fat foods than the same ones cooked with other cooking methods. This is because “the fats during grilling are lost much more, effectively degreasing the piece of meat”, explains Silvia Ambrogio, a specialized nutrition biologist with an international master’s degree in clinical and dietary nutrition. The important thing, however, is to follow some precautions to reduce the risks associated with this cooking method. According to recent research by the American Institute for Cancer Research, in fact, grilling meat, both white and red, at high temperatures (ie above 100 °) leads to the formation of highly carcinogenic substances, if specific precautions are not followed. First of all, nutrition experts advised to grill different types of foods, not only red meats but also white ones, fish and vegetables, and not to overcook them because the proteins of meat and fish are more digestible if less cooked. “Ideally, leaner meats should be chosen, or meats that have been eliminated from fat,” continues Ambrogio. For meat lovers, it is ok to use the fattest cuts, such as Florentine, normal rib steak, picanha (piece of codon), sliced pork neck, or pieces of biancostat (cut like Argentine asado), but for complete the dish should be added white meats (such as deviled chicken), to be eaten excluding the skin, because they can be made tasty with aromatic herbs and marinades but have less fat. Sausages, on the other hand, should not be made on the grill but on the plate, because they contain fat that melts over the flame with the heat, generating smoke, another risk factor in the formation of toxic substances. “The marinating of the meat is also important” continues the nutritionist biologist, “because it helps to reduce the risks. Using olive oil to marinate meat, in fact, helps not to caramelize the sugars too much, and it is this process, which takes place with a very high temperature cooking, which is toxic for our body, as well as being not very digestible. In addition, herbs and spices are useful, as well as to give taste and flavor, because they contain antioxidants, useful to counteract the risks “. Therefore, no to the consumption of clearly charred and toasted food or at least it is better to scrape off the blackened parts. If, on the other hand, you want to make a light grill, it is better to prefer fish, alongside a leaner fish such as sea bass, red snapper or sole, a crustacean and some mollusks, both very rich in cholesterol. Meat, therefore, to be alternated on the spit with vegetables, rich in fiber and antioxidants, because in this way the area exposed to the flame decreases and is therefore healthier. “Finally, a useful tip when making a barbecue is to drink a lot of water to facilitate the elimination of toxins” concludes Ambrogio.