I’m currently snacking on an avocado and thought that this would make a good topic of discussion.

Often times people mistaken the concept of a snack for something sweet or filled with carbohydrates because those foods are known to keep us energized. Yes these popular items such as chocolate, chips and ice cream are known as fast-digesting sugars and are most times empty calorie foods, this means that they lack vitamins and minerals and are simply sugar and fats.

Most people reply “well they keep me going” but your body will react to what it is accustomed to! But that does not mean it is a healthy choice. If you need to cut the habit of snacking ever so often on “junk” foods then slowly change over by mixing a fruit or two in between the chocolate, this breaks the habit and soon your taste buds will develop a taste for healthy eating.

Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a "nutrient booster" by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.

Avocados and Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but a healthy diet and exercise plan may help reduce your risk of developing the life-threatening illness.

The American Heart Association (AHA) Dietary Guidelines recommend a diet that has at least five servings of fruits and vegetables, contains up to 30% of calories from fats (primarily unsaturated) and is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, trans fats and sodium while being rich in potassium. Avocados can help you meet the AHA dietary guidelines because they have both monosaturated and polyunsaturated fat and contain potassium.

The Facts:

Grilling meat produces at least two types of potentially dangerous chemicals: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). PAHs are products of imperfect combustion found in smoke and burned matter. In large enough quantities they will definitely cause cancer in humans. In BBQ grills they're commonly formed when dripping fat flares up, charring the underside of the meat. In reality, you can get PAH's when you burn your toast.

HCAs, whose possible role in cancer was more recently discovered, are the result of reactions between chemicals in muscle meat produced by high heat or prolonged cooking. In contrast to PAHs, HCAs are found inside the meat, not just on the surface, and can't be easily scraped or trimmed off. Also in contrast to PAHs, HCAs aren't necessarily more likely to be produced during grilling; they can be created when cooking in an ordinary frying pan if it's hot enough.

So Do I have to Stop BBQ'ing?

Are all types of BBQ equally risky? No. Mainly we're talking about grilling over open flame at high heat, backyard barbecuing, in other words. Slow barbecue methods, which generally involve lower temperatures and minimal flame exposure, seems to be less problematic. When grilling, cooking meat till it's well-done supposedly generates the most HCAs and PAHs, so you are better off leaving a little pink on the inside.

More Tips To Decreasing Your Risk of Cancer

Use a gas grill, you have better control of the heat and will have less flare ups. You are also not subject to the chemicals present in store bought charcoal.

o    Don't burn your food

o    Avoid Flare Ups

o    Cook at lower temps

Microwave your meat for a few minutes before grilling, it will cook faster and decrease the time above an open flame.

Are We Grilling Tonight?

Of course! While the data is convincing, I am still going to BBQ when the mood hits me. I will however take a bit of caution, and pay more attention to how long my meat is on the grill. Honestly, slow cooking draws out the flavor of many cuts of meat anyway. So it is all still great BBQ in my opinion!

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Sarah Jones grew up loving all things BBQ. When she isn't trying out new marinades or grilling in the backyard she is sharing her love of BBQ with others. Learn more about her BBQ secrets at