Charcoal grilling is a process of cooking food such as meat, fish, etc. to make them taste even better. Charcoal briquettes and natural lump charcoal work as a fuel source for grilling food. We need a broad and condensed layer of lit coals for balanced temperature across the cooking surface. When we grill directly over the hot coals, it will scorch the outside of the food. Flaming coals will also create attractive grill marks on the food.
Now here comes a question, is grilling or barbequing good for our health? The answer is- it depends on the way of grilling our food. But from the expertise, we know that cooking food with high flame is not healthy. Charcoal grilling can be dangerous if you are not doing it appropriately. Charcoal could arise into serous burn by using too lighter fluid or flammables for activating the Charcoal. Grilling with Charcoal can become a problem for two reasons –
- Firstly, Charcoal and wood burn hydrocarbon and some tiny particles that can cause air pollution and health problems.
- Secondly, meat grilling can form two types of potentially carcinogenic compounds in processed meat: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs)
As we came to know that over time, charcoal grilling has some health and pollution issues. So let's know about it elaborately.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Basically, you know , carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and at the same time tasteless gas generated by flaming gasoline, propane, wood, Charcoal, or another fuel. It is slightly lighter than air. Inappropriately ventilated engines and specifically in tightly sealed space may permit carbon monoxide to stimulate dangerous levels. Carbon monoxide is the mixture of one carbon atom and one oxygen atom. It is a toxin to animals who use hemoglobin as an oxygen carrier. Piling up carbon monoxide in our bloodstream ended in carbon monoxide poisoning. Because of too much carbon monoxide in the air, our body's red blood cells replace the oxygen with CO (carbon monoxide). Serious tissue damage and death can result from this as it prevents oxygen from reaching our tissues and organs.
Signs and Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:
- Double vision
- Shortness of breath
- Dull headache
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of consciousness
- Irreversible brain damage
- Chest pain
- A deep red flushed skin color( late and postmortem sign)
Some Risk Factor:
Carbon monoxide Poisoning May be Extremely Dangerous for:
Pregnant woman and unborn child: Pregnant woman carries their child. So her unborn child is at risk because fetal blood cells can easily catch carbon monoxide. If the mother inhales CO, the unborn baby can be the victim of this poisoning. Excessive carbon monoxide poisoning can also occur miscarriage.
Children: The breathing rate of young children is more frequent than adults. For this reason, they are very much receptive to carbon monoxide poisoning.
People with chronic heart disease: People who have anemia and breathing problems quickly get sick from CO poisoning.
Older adults: older people are at high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Gastrointestinal Tumors and Leukemia
Gastrointestinal tumors and leukemia can occur due to eating grilled meats during grilling meat, pork, steak, beef, or fish. Chemicals named polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) form in the food. These are the harmful chemicals that can damage our DNA and leads to leukemia and gastrointestinal tumors.
Outdoor grilling is one of the reasons of pollution. Air pollution mainly occurs because of grilling, smoking, and barbecuing. At the time of grilling, a considerable amount of smoke is producing. The smoke contains carcinogens and other pollutants that can harm our bodies. Charcoal briquettes can back up bundles of carbon. When these carbons burn, they discharge greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases can trap the heat close to the earth's surface, causing the Green House Effect.
We realized that grilling with Charcoal releases enough CO2 to drive a car 22 miles from a Swiss researcher. So this is also a reason for fuel wastage. Info source:
Before knowing the side effects of anything, we have to see the process and elements of making it. This criteria also goes with the natural lump charcoal. Let's give a quick shot at its making process and used products.
It is very slow burning real pieces of wood in an airtight area until all the natural chemicals, sap, and moisture leave the wood to make natural lump charcoal. It responds correspondingly to oxygen; thus, we can easily control the heat using air vents, chimney, and grilling. Charcoal is a natural fuel for grilling, and it turns the food taste even better. The making process of it is labor-intensive. If we want to fill a 15-pound bag of Charcoal, we need 90 pounds of wood. Or we can say, 1½ tons of wood make ¼ ton of Charcoal. Maple, oak, mesquite, and hickory are natural hardwood that is best for making natural lump charcoal. By reducing the wood to Charcoal, it's left in its original rough shape.
Let's have a glance at the top six best lump charcoal:-
- Jealous Devil All Natural Lump Charcoal
- Royal Oak
- 100% Natural LAZZARI Mesquite Charcoal
- Original Natural Charcoal
- FOGO All Natural Premium Hardwood Lump Charcoal
Here comes a question, is ordinary Charcoal and activated Charcoal the same? Activated Charcoal is quite different from regular Charcoal. Natural lump charcoal is not activated until we activate it within a process. By controlling the decomposition of carbon-based compounds, such as peat (vegetable matter) or coconut shells. So mainly we active these natural sources with gases at high temperatures. It performs by catching toxins and chemicals in its millions of pores. The chemical process used here is adsorption, not absorption. That means it is absorbing the poison or harmful substances. Activated Charcoal undergoes an additional step, which increases the porosity and surface area. It is also known as activated carbon. Charcoal is generally used for cooking, smoking, and barbequing food.
As we came to know a short description of natural lump charcoal, now we should focus on its good and bad sides.
The Wrong Sides or Side Effects of Eating Natural Lump Charcoal
If we have Charcoal in smaller quantities, it will not harm our bodies. It is better to consume (eat or drink) activated Charcoal occasionally. By eating regularly it might cause some health problems, and they are given below-
- Black stools
- Gastrointestinal blockages
- Malnutrition can also happen due to activated Charcoal as it absorbs important nutrients away from the body.
So these are the risks or side effects of consuming excessive Charcoal. If we use 100% natural charcoal, we can avoid exposure to these harmful effects.
Here Come the Right Sides of Having Natural Lump Charcoal
When the natural lump charcoal is activated, it turns into activated Charcoal. We mainly eat this form of Charcoal. Natural lump charcoal has some good aspects.
- It prevents from forming gas and acidity.
- You can use to restrain from a hangover.
- It decreases high cholesterol.
- You may use the activated Charcoal for the treatment of cholestasis in pregnancy. Cholestasis is one kind of liver disease. It mainly happens when the bile flow from our liver is blocked or lessen. In early pregnancy, cholestasis might start. But it is more usual in the second and third semesters—more research and studies needed in this treatment.
- You can also use Charcoal for making our food attractive. Charcoal flavored ice cream, burgers, drinks are now trendy among the young generation.
Mainly you can use both natural Charcoal and processed Charcoal (activated) many aspects. Many studies and researches are needed in this regard. After considering Charcoal's excellent and wrong side, we realized that it directly depends on Charcoal's usage and types.