Summer is backyard BBQ season. Some of the most iconic American BBQ foods are burgers, corn on the cob, and watermelon. Not only are these summer staples tasty, but health supporting as well.
Red meat has been demonized as disease causing and bad for our health. Do not bail on the burger just yet. It is true of grain fed and feed lot-raised beef because cows are designed to eat grass. Feeding cows an unnatural diet of corn or soybeans affects the quality of the meat. Grain fed beef has an imbalance in the essential fatty acids making it inflammatory. Chronic inflammation contributes to heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases.
Toxins and chemicals are stored in fat cells. Cows exposed to lots of chemicals and pesticides, as in massive feed-lots, produce meat containing toxins and chemicals. This also contributes to chronic inflammation when we eat it.
Grass fed beef, however, is a health food. It is high in omega 3 essential fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory. Omega 3 fats help protect against heart disease and other chronic diseases. Organic grass-fed cows have not been exposed to all those chemicals. Be sure to choose grass fed beef or bison for your 4th of July burger. There are plenty of local ranches raising grass fed only beef and bison. For the best health benefits cook medium rare.
Corn provides several B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc. B vitamins are needed for many processes in the body. Zinc is required for vision, immune function, insulin function, and taste. Magnesium reduces blood pressure, protect blood vessels, and reduce the effects of stress. Unfortunately, corn has found its way into much of our food supply. Too much corn in all its forms, like anything else, is not good for us.
Choose fresh non-GMO corn for the BBQ. To cook, place corn still in the husk on the grill. Cover. They will steam in their own sweet juices. Turn occasionally until husks are charred on all sides, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Use a hand towel to remove husks and silk to avoid getting burned. Serve warm with butter.
Watermelon is fun to eat, tastes great, and is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C. Both are antioxidants. Vitamin A is good for the skin and eyes. Vitamin C is needed for immune function, wound healing, iron absorption, and heart health. Watermelon also contains lycopene, magnesium, and potassium. Lycopene is an antioxidant protecting cells. Like magnesium, potassium regulates blood pressure.
Enjoy the rest of the BBQ season.