Bar-B-Que season has arrived, which brings me to my annual message on healthy grilling.

See, there’s a smart way to grill, and a dumb way to grill. The first helps protect your health, the other does exactly the opposite.

I recently had the opportunity to discuss healthy grilling when I appeared on Sacramento’sKCRANews and KXTV News. During both interviews, I suggested that thesingle most important thing viewers could to protect themselves against cancerous compounds formed while grilling was tomake a marinade: of herbs, spices and Malaysian palm oil.

First Commandment

Don’t leave food on the grill until it blackens. Those big flames licking your hamburgers may make the burger look mouth-watering, but what those flames are doing to the burger from a health standpoint is a disaster.

See, the single biggest danger with grilling is high heat. Those big, attention-getting flames interact with the meat to form compounds calledheterocyclic amines, which are carcinogenic.

Making a Marinade

But there are safer ways to prepare your meal. Making a marinade from oils and spices is a great grilling strategy. There’s solid research showing the protective effects of a good marinade. A marinade really cuts down on all the compounds that you don’t want from your barbecue.

jonny bowdenAs in anything, details matter, and in this case the details are in the choice of oil and choice of herbs and spices. Some oils work better than others for the marinade. Our diet is way too high in pro-inflammatory omega-6s, which are exactly what we’re consuming when we cook or marinade in vegetable oil. Switch to somebetter oils like Certified Sustainable Malaysian palm oil. This red oil is filled with carotenoids and tocotrienols. I also like using Malaysian palm oil because of its sustainability. Malaysia protects 50% of its forests, so in Malaysia, no orangutan habitats are harmed in the making of palm oil.

Adding herbs and spices with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory qualities to a better-quality cooking oil can spruce up the marinade, too. If you look on any nutrition data site, you’ll see that pound for pound, herbs and spices contain the most antioxidants and vitamins of any foods. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but I particularly like to use turmeric or oregano or both.

As Dr. Masley and I wrote in our recent book,Smart Fat, spices are like a medicine cabinet in the house teeming with terrific, health-giving natural remedies that we don’t use nearly as much as we should. Use them! Cover whatever you’re grilling with Malaysian palm oil and then just go to town with any or all of the herbs and spices you’ve got on hand. Keep the heat a little bit lower than normal eat meat, fish and chicken just a tiny bit rarer, and you’ll be doing yourself—and everyone you bar-b-que for—a tremendous service!


jonny bowdenJonny Bowden, “the Nutrition Myth Buster” is a board-certified nutritionist and the best-selling author of 15 books including The Great Cholesterol Myth, Living Low Carb, the 150 Healthiest Foods On Earth and Smart Fat. To learn more about healthy living, motivation and nutrition, visit

And for a limited time- Dr. Jonny Bowden is offering his VIP - Truth About Fat Loss Package, absolutely FREE. Download valuable information on weight loss, healthy eating, motivation and more here.  


Note: The statements presented in this column should not be considered medical advice or a way to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. Dietary supplements do not treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of a medical professional before altering your daily dietary regimen. The opinions presented here are those of the writer. 


Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 7/14/16