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updated: 7/5/2011 1:47 PM

Enjoy grilled vegetables hot or cold

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Q. What kinds of vegetables are suitable for grilling?

A. Some of the classic vegetable choices for grilling include asparagus, corn on the cob, onions, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini and eggplant. Most of these can be grilled whole, as well as chopped and cooked in a grill basket or cut into chunks and skewered to make vegetable kebabs. Brush or toss them with a small amount of olive oil. Cooked on a grill at medium-high heat, most are ready after about 3 to 5 minutes per side.

More dense vegetables like onions, sweet potatoes and eggplant may need double that time or more, depending on how large the pieces are. You can even grill vegetables in advance and serve them at room temperature on their own or in salads.

Grilling brings out marvelous flavors in many vegetables, and it does not lead to the development of cancer-causing substances formed when meat and poultry are grilled.

• Provided by the American Institute for Cancer Research. Learn more about the group and its New American Plate program at aicr.org.

Q. Is there any difference in the antioxidant levels of regular and decaf coffees and teas? Also, despite the antioxidant benefits, isn't the caffeine still bad for you?

A. Compared to decaf, regular green tea contains about three times as much EGCG, the antioxidant phytochemical that has shown cancer-prevention effects in some laboratory studies. Similarly, decaf black tea, which contains another, less-studied antioxidant called theorubigin, also has lower amounts (about 50 percent less) than its regular counterpart.

Limited research suggests that chlorogenic acid, one of the main antioxidants in coffee, may be lower in decaf coffee as well. However, even with decaf versions, the true antioxidant benefits you receive depend on how much you drink.

As for concerns about caffeine, when consumed in moderation, it may not be as bad as you think. Some studies now suggest that caffeine's purported role in increasing blood pressure may not be linked as strongly to coffee and tea. Note that people with sleep difficulties, however, do need to be careful about the amount and timing of caffeine consumption.

Also, most health experts suggest that pregnant women limit total daily caffeine from coffee, soft drinks and other sources to about 300 milligrams, the equivalent of three 6-ounce cups of regular coffee.

• Provided by the American Institute for Cancer Research. Learn more about the group and its New American Plate program at aicr.org.

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