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Sara Hansen

Is BBQ Good For You? 7 Great Health Benefits of BBQ

Grilling and smoking BBQ are popular cooking methods that are enjoyed by people all over the world. Outdoor cooking is a great way to prepare meats, vegetables, fruit, and other foods. While some people may think of BBQ as a guilty pleasure, it actually has some surprising health benefits. In this article, we'll explore the various valuable health benefits of grilling and smoking food.


Packed With Protein

Of course, meat is the main component of most BBQ dishes. And meat is an excellent source of protein, which is essential for repairing, building, and maintaining muscle. Protein also helps you feel more full and satisfied, which can prevent overeating and aid in weight loss. However, it's important to choose lean options of meat, like chicken, pork, and lean beef cuts, to avoid excess saturated fat and calories.

And don’t forget that many different grilled fish options, like salmon and tuna, are also great sources of protein.


Reduced Fat

One of the biggest health benefits of grilling or smoking meat is that it can help to reduce the amount of unhealthy fat. When meat is cooked “low and slow” on a grill, a lot of the fat melts and drips away, leaving behind a leaner, healthier cut of meat. This is especially beneficial for people who are trying to lose weight and/or reduce their bad cholesterol levels.

For example, a 3.5-ounce grilled chicken breast provides 165 calories and 3.6 grams of fat, while a 3.5-ounce battered and fried chicken breast has roughly 257 calories and 13 grams of fat.

And not only does BBQ have lower levels of “bad” fat, but the fat it does contain is considered heart-healthy fat. This type of fat offers anti-inflammatory benefits and has been linked to helping maintain a lower level of LDL cholesterol (aka the “bad” cholesterol), helping to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and stroke.


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Lower Calorie

Outdoor cooking can also be a much lower-calorie way to cook. The heat from the grill or smoker cooks the food relatively quickly and does not require the use of much additional oil or fat. This prevents the food from absorbing any excess fats, which would normally happen during pan and oven cooking.

Additionally, since the temperatures are often higher and the foods are exposed to direct heat, more fats and oils will naturally be burned off instead of being absorbed into the food. This results in fewer overall calories.


Full of Beneficial Vitamins

Meat is an excellent source of many valuable vitamins that are essential for a healthy diet. For example, animal products are the best source of vitamin B6. BBQ meat also provides a good amount of vitamins B12 and B3.

The process itself of grilling or smoking can also help to preserve the nutrients in food. When cooking food in your grill or smoker at a lower temperature, the food is cooked more slowly, which reduces the number of nutrients that are burned away at high heat.

For example, grilling vegetables can help to preserve much of their vitamin C content. A previous scientific study published in the International Journal of Scientific and Technology Research found that grilled broccoli had more vitamin C than both steamed and baked broccoli.


Provides Antioxidants

Grilled vegetables and fruit, which make for a great pairing with BBQ, are also excellent sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your body from free radicals, helping to reduce oxidative stress and decrease the risk of chronic disease. Including grilled vegetables and fruits in your outdoor cooking is an easy and delicious way to help boost antioxidant intake. Some antioxidant-rich options for the grill include bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, pineapple, and berries.

Plus, many great options for grilled veggies are packed with healthy fiber. Fiber is important for keeping your digestive system healthy, working as a powerful antioxidant in your gut, and has a unique ability to help you feel full. This is great for those looking to stay on track with an eating plan.


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Stress Reliever

Outdoor cooking can be an incredibly stress-relieving activity for many people. Being outside in the fresh air and focusing on the task of cooking can be a great way to forget about life's worries and take pleasure in a simple activity. 

While the delicious smells of the food cooking and the warmth of the fire add to the experience, just the act of being outside can be enough to help many people relax and unwind. Plus, it provides an enjoyable opportunity to spend time with friends and family.


Tips for Healthy Grilling

There are a few tips that you can follow to make sure that your grilling is as healthy as possible. First, choose lean cuts of meat. Chicken and pork are naturally leaner than beef. But, there are some cuts of beef that are still pretty lean. Also, make sure to trim off excess fat on the exterior of the meat before grilling. You can also grill just vegetables instead of meat on some days to work more vitamins and nutrients into your diet.

Here are some additional tips for healthy grilling:

  • Use a marinade that contains healthy ingredients, such as extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, herbs, and spices. Try to avoid marinades and sauces that are high in added sugar and sodium. 
  • Use minimal amounts of refined oil and butter when cooking.
  • Clean your grill regularly to prevent ingesting unhealthy carcinogens from burnt food particles left on the grill from your previous cooking session.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the delicious taste of grilled food without sacrificing your health.


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Source: Serious Eats


Yes, BBQ Can Be Very Good For You!

Many people are surprised to learn of the vast health benefits of BBQ. You can enjoy the delicious taste of grilled food without sacrificing your health. As you can see, BBQ can be a healthy and enjoyable addition to your diet, especially during these warmer months.

By choosing lean cuts of meat, grilling antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, choosing lighter sauces, and cooking in the fresh air, you can reap the many health benefits of this beloved tradition.

Do you know of another health benefit of BBQ? Leave a comment below and tell us about it. We want to hear from you!



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And if you're looking to upgrade your competition skills, our All-Access pass gives you access to in-depth, online BBQ classes that will teach you how to master ribs, brisket, pork butt, and chicken in your smoker or grill. You'll also get insider cooking tips that you won't find anywhere else.

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Sara Hansen

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