The Unhealthy Mistake You Might Be Making When Cooking Meat

With the average American consuming 274 pounds of meat each year, it's no secret that meat is a staple in most homes (via Sentient Media). Although there are many strong arguments for plant-based diets, every kind of this protein contains nutrients that can be beneficial to most people. According to Healthline, meat is a great source of protein. Different types of meat also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals including riboflavin, zinc, vitamin B6, and iron.

However, meat comes with some potential health risks as well. Consuming raw meat puts you at risk of developing foodborne illnesses (via BestLife). Most people know to wash their hands after handling raw meat and know to thoroughly cook their food to avoid getting sick, but those germs can spread to your body in other ways. When transferring raw meat to a grill, oven, or pan, it is important to immediately wash the plate that held the raw items. If you place cooked meat onto a surface that recently held raw meat, the bacteria can spread to your cooked food. According to the CDC, you should always use separate plates for raw and cooked meat.

Health and unhealthy ways to cook meat

Certain types of cooked meat can also pose some health risks. According to Eat This, Not That!, grilling meat for too long can cause it to develop polycystic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). These chemicals, often created when meat is charred or burnt, have been connected to certain types of cancer. If you want to grill your meat, stick to a low cooking temperature and avoid putting your protein in a direct flame to discourage charring.

Fortunately, there are plenty of healthy ways to cook meat that won't create any potential health risks for you. According to Healthline, roasting and baking are two of the best ways to cook any type of meat. These cooking methods result in minimal nutrient loss and allow you to cook meat without adding oil or fats. Simmering, poaching, and stewing, which all involve cooking meat in a liquid, can also be a healthy way to enjoy your favorite type of steak, chicken, or fish. Avoid pan-frying or deep-frying meat when possible, as these cooking methods require the addition of fats to cook the food, which can add calories to your meal. Of course, all cooking methods can be used in moderation.