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Cooking Meat at High Temperatures May Contribute to High Blood Pressure

The way you prepare your food may be more or less healthy than you realized. A recent study suggests that grilling, broiling, or roasting meat, chicken, and fish at high temperatures may be associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure, when compared with those who prepared them at a lower heat.


Participants in the study included 32,925 women who took part in the Nurses' Health Study, 53,852 women who took part in the Nurses' Health Study II, and 17,104 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. All of the studies included food frequency questionnaires, as well as detailed cooking information. None of the participants had high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, or cancer at the start of the study. However, during the average follow up period of 12 to 16 years, 37,123 participants developed high blood pressure.


For this study, the researchers looked specifically at people who ate at least two servings of red meat, chicken, or fish a week. They found that the risk of developing high blood pressure was 17% higher in people who grilled, broiled, or roasted beef, chicken or and fish more than 15 times per month, when compared with those who did the same less than four times per month.


They also found that the risk was 15% higher in those who prefer their food well done, compared with those who prefer rarer meats, and 17% higher in those estimated to have consumed the highest levels of heterocyclic aromatic amines compared to those with the lowest intake. Heterocyclic aromatic amines are chemicals formed when meat protein is charred or exposed to high temperatures.


Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conducted the study. It was presented at the American Heart Association Meeting on March 21, 2018.

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