The May holidays are the traditional season for the start of the barbecue and outdoor recreation season. What are the dangers of cooking outside? How to choose meat and calculate the portion so as not to overeat? What is important to remember so that the picnic goes without harming your health? This was stated by Sergey Khomyakov, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Chief Physician of Invitro-Moscow.
Is cooking meat on an open fire fundamentally different from the benefits / harms of home cooking?
The essence of the process of cooking on a fire or electric stove is not fundamentally different – in both cases, a piece of meat, for example, is affected by energy in the infrared wavelength range, which causes protein denaturation. But if you cook food on an open fire, then at the same time a piece of meat is affected by carcinogenic tobacco substances, including those that are formed during the burning of fat dripping on burning coals. Prolonged or repeated exposure to carcinogens can cause tumors to grow. It is recommended to use firewood, not charcoal, to light a fire without the use of special gasoline-containing mixtures – this way it will be possible to reduce the amount of carcinogenic smoke or soot. Highly fried crust, which produces toxic and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic carbohydrates, should be avoided. It is also important to use clean, well-washed dishes – grill, skewers without leftovers of previously cooked food.
What is unsafe food on the street and in nature?
On the road, even during rest, it is not always possible to wash your hands before eating and to process cutlery, which poses a risk of infection, food poisoning and parasitic infection. There is a possibility of contamination of food with dust particles.
Which meat is better to choose and why? How not to overeat and calculate the portion?
Traditional barbecue is made from lamb, less often from pork. But this is “heavy” meat – it takes a long time to digest, mainly due to the refractory fat. Exposure to high temperatures in such fat leads to the formation of trans fats, which, in turn, lead to the deposition of cholesterol plaques on the walls of blood vessels. Shish kebab from poultry or fish is much easier to digest. Before cooking the meat on the fire, it is useful to marinate it, which leads to additional fermentation and softening of the meat.
It is quite safe to eat about 100-200 grams of kebab, which will be 20-40 grams of protein. Along with barbecue, it is worth eating a lot of greens, vegetables (fiber), which neutralize or reduce the carcinogenic effect of fried meat and will contribute to proper intestinal motility. The fried crust of the meat can cause irritation of the gastric mucosa, so it is recommended to cut it when consumed by people suffering from gastritis.
Uncooked meat may contain parasites that cause parasitic infestations, such as sarcocystosis, trichinosis, toxoplasmosis, tenacity, teniarrhea, echinococcosis.
Is it possible to somehow prepare the body for a barbecue? What can cause food poisoning?
Food poisoning occurs when food is not prepared and stored properly. To avoid this, it is necessary to observe the expiration dates of the products and the rules of preparation, storage and heat treatment. It is not worth taking special medications for prevention.
As meat kebab is a protein food, it causes a feeling of satiety. You can avoid overeating by chewing kebab slowly.
Is smoke from fires dangerous for humans?
Fire smoke is just as dangerous as cigarette smoke, especially with chronic exposure. When we throw fresh firewood on the fire, a large amount of thermolysis products are released that contain carbon monoxide and smoke. The composition of the smoke formed during the combustion of wood includes: carbon monoxide, alcohols, ketones, aldehydes, acids and other complex organic compounds. There are more carcinogens in fire smoke than in cigarettes. Of course, a single exposure to fire smoke will not lead to irreparable consequences. In order not to breathe combustion products, you should stand on the windward side of the fire.
Can we give recommendations on how to properly organize such events in nature?
Resting in a well-maintained landscaped park with specially designed areas for barbecues and picnics is safer and preferable to nature conservation than resting in a wild forest. It should be remembered that parks within the city, as a rule, are specially treated and the risk of being bitten by a tick there is several times lower than in the forest zone.
Going to a picnic or barbecue, first of all, you need to prepare – wear special clothes, store a sufficient amount of water and hygiene products for hand care and cooking. If you plan to travel to an area endemic for tick-borne encephalitis, you should be vaccinated in advance. It is important to alternate a nature holiday with outdoor activities, such as group games.