1. Health and Wellness

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) on your Grilled foods and how you can reduce it?

The Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons are made by the burning of things and are known contaminants. It consists of around 100 different chemicals. PAH are released in the air by burning objects such as cigarettes and even open fires. Objects that have been charred or burned contain PAH which includes something as simple as grilled foods.

Why is PAH bad?

PAH enters the body by inhaling it or ingesting it. There are health effects of being exposed to PAH. These include nasal, lung and eye irritations as well as cancer. Additionally, these health issues can occur:


In a study involving animals, PAH was suspected to be responsible for brain tumors.


PAH is also suspected to cause reproductive problems. One PAH in particular which is known as benzo[a]pyrene is said to be the one to cause infertility problems. It is also a very potent carcinogen.

How do we get exposed to PAH?

It was mentioned earlier, but there are many ways PAH can end up in our foods. Here are some others to think about:

  • Eating charred or grilled foods
  • Smoked foods
  • Second-hand cigarette smoke
  • Vehicle exhaust
  • Asphalt fumes
  • Fires
  • Volcanoes
  • Water that has been contaminated
  • Breast milk of women who lives in areas whit high amounts of PAH in the air

What is the best way to lower exposer to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons?

Based on this article, it appears that there is no escaping these potent chemicals that are everywhere. In some sense that is correct. Our world is filled with contaminants in the very air we depend on for life. Awareness is the key factor that will reduce your exposure to PAH and its 100 chemicals.

Avoiding second-hand cigarette smoke is obvious for most of us, however, who would have guessed about eating charred foods? There are some simple steps we can take to reduce our exposure.

How to lower Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons on your grilled foods

Eat leaner foods

Lean meats are more expensive for a reason. Fats don’t only clog your arteries it also generates a higher level of PAH since it increases fires and smoke. Choosing leaner meats for grilling is one way to reduce PAH on your grilled foods

Soak your meats with lemon or lime juice

Prior to marinating your meat, you may want to soak your meats in water and lemon or lime juice. This also gives the food additional flavor as well.

Using an indirect smoker

For those who love to smoke foods, this is music to your ears. Using a smoke that redirects the smoke, rather than being underneath the meats will reduce the amount of PAH on your food. You don’t have to give up your hobby or sacrifice smoked foods to lower your risk of exposure to PAH.

Marinate your meat in wine or beer

As it turns out, you can have your cake and eat it too. Who doesn’t like liquor marinated foods? Apart from amazing flavor it also lowers your exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons.

Precook your meat in the oven

More time on the grill means more exposure to the carcinogen PAH. If you partially cook your food in the oven, then it spends less time on the grill. As another benefit, it reduces the potential to burn.

Rub your meats with herbs before grilling

Herbs release antioxidants which helps to prevent PHA from forming. Herbs also make your grilled foods taste good. Another win-win for the grilled food lover.

Remove visible charred pieces of meat

The carcinogen appears in a greater concentration where there is charring. Removing charred pieces of meat will automatically reduce your risk of ingesting PAH. Another win-win anyway as charred meat is no fun to eat.

How much should you worry?

Our kidneys and liver do an awesome job of clearing toxins. We just have to lower the amount of work they need to do. Take a few precautions and let your body take care of the rest. The good news is with the carcinogens such as PAH that is released during grilling, the steps to reduce them also adds flavor to the food.