Stay clear of burned steer
If well-done burgers or charred hotdogs are your thing, consider this: Regularly consuming well-done or charred meat may increase your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 60 percent, according to a University of Minnesota study that tracked the eating habits of more than 62,000 people over a nine-year period. Why? Cooking meat at a high temperature causes chemicals called HCAs (heterocyclic amines) and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) to form. These carcinogens can cause changes in DNA that can lead to cancer. Choose lean meats and trim the fat before grilling, because when fat and juices drip from meat, flames flare up and create more smoke, which leads to carcinogen formation. Flip frequently to reduce HCAs by 75 to 95 percent, according to research published in the Nutrition Action Healthletter. If you do char your meat, trim it away before eating. Here are other surprising habits that can raise your cancer risk.
Marinate your meat
Scientists aren’t sure why, but a marinade acts like a barrier between your meat and carcinogens. The American Institute for Cancer Research says marinating meat for at least 30 minutes can reduce the formation of HCAs. The type of marinade might even be a factor, according to researchers from Kansas State University and The Food Science Institute, who found that a steak cooked in a Caribbean marinade had an 88 percent drop in HCAs, while an herb marinade accounted for a 72 percent drop and a Southwestern mixture had a 57 percent drop in bad compounds.