A research presented to the American Heart Association showed that well-done meat can significantly increase blood pressure, but there are ways to eat meat healthier.

A 16-year large-scale study followed up a total of 32,925 women participating in the first phase of the study, 53,852 women on the second phase, and 17,104 men. All of the participants tested to have no hypertension by the time they enrolled in the study.

At the conclusion of the preliminary study, researchers found that 37,123 individuals, who regularly grilled, broiled, or roasted their meat, have significantly increased their blood pressure within the follow-up period.

Key takeaways showed that individuals who grilled, broiled, or roasted their meat more than 15 times a month have 17 percent increased the risk for hypertension compared with those who have less than four times a month. The risk of hypertension is 15 percent higher to those who like their meat cooked well-done compared with those who are into rarer meats.

"The chemicals produced by cooking meats at high temperatures induce oxidative stress, inflammation, and insulin resistance in animal studies, and these pathways may also lead to an elevated risk of developing high blood pressure," said lead author Gang Liu, who is also a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

As it turned out, regardless if the meat is broiled, grilled, or roasted, an increased blood pressure is more probable for well-done meat compared to rare.

Less Is More, Rare Is Preferable

Temperature is critical in cooking meat because the higher it gets, the more saturated fat is consumed. It is also important that the meat is cooked enough that harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli are killed in the process.

The Minnesota Department of Health recommends that fresh meats be cooked between 145 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve the rare and medium doneness. Poultry should be cooked at 165 degrees Fahrenheit, while fish is cooked at a minimum of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Deep frying is not recommended because it increases the concentration of saturated fat in the meat.

Jackie Newgent, a registered dietitian from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said that it is important to use a food thermometer to ensure that the meat is not undercooked or overcooked. This discards traditional way of checking the doneness by means of color or texture of the meat.

Between rare and medium-rare, Newgent said that medium-rare is considered safe for fresh meats. This means that the temperature should reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit internally and wait for another three minutes before the meat is cut or consumed.

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