Grilling, high-temperature cooking linked with high blood pressure

Routinely eating grilled or well-done beef, chicken or fish may raise the risk of developing high blood pressure, according to preliminary research from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The findings, which were presented on March 21, 2018 at an American Heart Association (AHA) meeting, were based on 12-16 years of data from more than 100,000 participants in three long-term studies—the Nurses’ Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study II, and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.

Among those who reported eating at least two servings of red meat, chicken or fish each week, the risk of developing high blood pressure was:

  • 17% higher in those who grilled, broiled, or roasted their food more than 15 times per month, compared with those who did so less than four times per month
  • 15% higher in those who prefer their food well done, compared with those who prefer rarer meats
  • 17% higher in those estimated to have consumed the highest levels of heterocyclic aromatic amines—chemicals formed when meat protein is charred or exposed to high temperatures—compared with those who consumed the least

“Our findings imply that avoiding the use of open-flame and/or high-temperature cooking methods may help reduce hypertension risk among individuals who consume red meat, chicken or fish regularly,” said Gang Liu, research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and lead author of the study, in a March 21, 2018 Today article.

Read the Today article: Grilling meat may raise risk of high blood pressure, study finds

Read an AHA press release: Grilling and other high-temperature cooking may raise the risk of high blood pressure