Why grilled meats could be the cause of your high blood pressure

It might be time to put your grill back in storage because grilled burger patties could be increasing your blood pressure.

However, one study determined that it’s the cooking method (grilling) that’s making your blood pressure rise and not the meat itself, especially if you regularly eat grilled meats.

Grilled meat and hypertension

The study, which was reported by the American Heart Association News, showed that there was a connection between grilling meat at high temperatures and high blood pressure (hypertension). The researchers observed individuals who consumed overcooked meats and those who didn’t. The study involved more than 100,000 participants.

Data from the study confirmed that eating grilled meat can increase an individual’s risk of developing hypertension. Those who consumed grilled meats at least 15 times every month had a 17-percent increased risk of suffering from high blood pressure.

While the report didn’t establish if the participants grilled beef compared to other types of meat, Gang Liu, a researcher from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said that the risk of hypertension also included lean meats.

Liu explained that based on their findings, one way of minimizing the risk of hypertension among people who eat chicken, fish, or red meat regularly is by avoiding cooking methods like barbecuing, broiling, and grilling. (Related: Reduce Toxins and Enjoy a Healthier BBQ.)

It remains unknown why this connection exists between grilled meats and hypertension, but other studies have implied that there is a link between meat cooked at high temperatures and the harmful chemicals that they produce.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) warned that certain meats cooked at high temperatures can produce dangerous chemicals, such as by pan-frying or open-flame grilling. The chemicals produced may include heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Researchers posit that constant exposure to both chemicals can result in DNA changes.

While the NCI noted that human studies are unable to determine a direct link between meat cooked at high temperatures and HCAs or PAHs, experts must come up with a more precise way of determining the number of chemicals that individuals are exposed to. Current methods include targeted questionnaires and research.

Meanwhile, researchers have recorded data from animal studies wherein cancers formed in subjects fed with diets high in HPCs and PAHs.

Is it safe to eat smoked meat?

Now that broiling, grilling, and pan-frying meat have been confirmed to increase the risk for high blood pressure, is it all right to smoke meat? This food preparation method enhances the flavor of meat, but the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has warned against it.

In 2015, the IARC cautioned that processed meats are a carcinogen while red meats are a possible carcinogen.

Per the American Cancer Society (ACS), the term “processed” can include meats that have been cured, fermented, salted, and smoked. At least 22 researchers reviewed over 800 studies to determine this ruling. The researchers added that individuals who consumed processed meats daily increased their risk of developing colorectal cancer by at least 18 percent.

Aside from the cancer risk, smoked and other processed meats usually add large amounts of sodium to a meal. This added salt can worsen high blood pressure, especially since consuming a lot of smoked meats could result in cardiovascular disease or other heart problems.

Instead of putting yourself at risk for heart disease or hypertension by grilling, consider healthier cooking options when preparing meat. Eat leaner cuts, and trim any fat that you see. Add more fatty fish, like trout or salmon, to your diet, and always let excess fat drip before serving meat.

Skip the grilled burgers and cook meat at lower temperatures to minimize the risk of high blood pressure.

You can read more articles about healthier ways to cook meat and how to prevent cardiovascular disease at Heart.news.

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