Ahhhhh, the aroma of meat roasting on a grill. I don’t know anyone (even the occasional vegan) who’s mouth doesn’t start to water at the smell of some grass-fed beef being charred in an outdoor kitchen. It’s the smell of summer…along with fresh cut grass, of course.
But there’s a caveat with that meat. Besides creating carcinogens if you don’t marinate them, high-temperature cooking methods can raise the risk of hypertension. So can eating too much of it! It IS filled with saturated fats, after all.
I’m sure most of you who are hypertensive or close to it do watch the amount of red meat you eat. But it’s not just eating it that impacts your risk of developing high blood pressure—but how you cook it, according to research from the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health scientific sessions in New Orleans. (Try saying THAT five times fast!)
It was discovered that people who eat grilled meats often, and prefer it cooked like shoe leather, have a higher risk of hypertension compared to those who use lower-temperature cooking methods or enjoy their steaks rare.
“The chemicals produced by cooking meats at high temperatures induce oxidative stress, inflammation and insulin resistance and these pathways may also lead to an elevated risk of developing high blood pressure,” said a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Among participants (over 100,000 people) who reported eating at least two servings of red meat, chicken or fish per week, the following increases in developing high blood pressure were noted:
- 17 percent for those who grilled, broiled or roasted meat more than 15 times per month, compared with fewer than four times a month.
- 15 percent for people who preferred their meat well-done versus rarer.
- 17 percent for individuals estimated to have consumed the most heterocyclic aromatic amines—chemicals formed from charring at high cooking temperatures—compared to those with the lowest intake.
And it didn’t matter which type of meat they ate or how much. It was the method of cooking that gave the result.
Overall, the findings are pretty obvious. Ease up on meat consumption overall, cook your steak only until it’s medium rare at the MOST, and save your grilling for once a week or so. Marinate it, for sure!
Have I frustrated you?! I didn’t mean to. Try this recipe for Portobello mushroom burgers. They’re hearty and full of flavor and your blood pressure with thank you for it.
The Trouble with Grilling Meat (and a portobello burger!)