Cooking Up Health: 3 things you must try grilled

A juicy steak from the grill may seem like the perfect summer staple. But for your body’s sake, you may want to pass on that piece of protein.

Red and processed meats—like beef, pork sausage, lamb and hotdogs, to name a few—can be hard on your body due to the high levels of saturated fat, cholesterol and in some cases, processed ingredients.

Recent focus has been on the risks associated with processed and red meats. Several studies have indicated that these two types of meat can increase your risk of cancer, including colorectal, prostate and pancreatic, as well as heart disease. It is important to note that the risk for cancer and heart disease increases as the level of consumption increases, so if you periodically have one or more of these meats, you are not doomed.

Here’s a refresher of the most common processed and red meats.

  • Processed Meats: bacon, sausage, hot dogs, salami, corned beef, beef jerky and ham
  • Red Meats: beef, pork and lamb

So—in an effort to minimize the risk and maximize the benefit, here are some healthy grill alternatives to try. We promise they are just as yummy!

Turkey Burgers (Ground Turkey): Like many other meats, turkey contains high amounts of protein. Lean protein is essential as it keeps you feeling fuller for longer, while also providing nutrients for lean muscle mass. Also, turkey carries the added bonus of selenium. This mineral can help decrease the risk of colorectal, prostate, lung, bladder, skin, esophageal and gastric cancers and helps cell metabolism. Make sure to buy lean turkey to keep fat content low and add plenty of veggies.

Freshwater Fish: We have all heard the rave reviews of salmon and its health benefits; however, there are several options closer to home, just as healthy and may be better for the environment. Catfish and trout are two of the most notable. These freshwater fish are common in the U.S. and because of this, they are often less toxic. Additionally, both are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for heart and brain health.

Shiitake Mushrooms: With almost too many health benefits to list, shiitake mushrooms are a summertime must. Just as versatile and meaty as several other grill favorites, shiitake mushrooms provide ample amounts of vitamins D and B. And that’s not all. Shiitake mushrooms also support weight loss, cardiovascular health, energy levels, immune health and fight cancer and inflammation.


This summer enjoy all the benefits of grilling outdoors without any of the drawbacks. Utilizing healthier alternatives will keep your body and taste buds happy. For more healthy grilling tips and recipes, visit Gwinnett Medical Center’s Health (e) Library

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