Grilling meat at high temperatures could increase the risk of high blood pressure, a preliminary study presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2018 suggested Wednesday. According to researchers, well-done red and white meat can also form potential cancer-causing chemicals.

The study said the risk was more for people who regularly eat beef, chicken or fish prepared in high temperatures — including grilling, barbecuing, broiling and roasting. 

“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,” Gang Liu, the study’s lead author and a research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told NBC's Today.

“The chemicals created by cooking meats at high temperatures initiate oxidative pressure, irritation and Insulin protection in creature ponders, and these pathways may likewise prompt a raised risk of growing high Blood Pressure," Liu added. He explained the purpose of the research was to help reduce the risk of high blood pressure by not consuming nourishment food cooked with the help of "open-fire or potentially high-temperature cooking techniques, including flame broiling, grilling and searing."

The conclusion was reached after researchers followed up with 32,925 women from the Nurses’ Health Study; 53,852 women from the Nurses’ Health Study II, and 17,104 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. None had high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer at the start but after 12 to 16 years, 37,123 of the participants developed high blood pressure.

Researchers, however, added the findings do not prove cause and effect.

The latest findings highlight that moderation is very important when grilling meat, experts said.

“The people who had the highest risk were grilling 15 times a month — that’s every other day,” Dr. Haitham Ahmed, director of cardiac rehabilitation at the Cleveland Clinic, said. “For the average American, though, I think if you're grilling a few times a week, that should be OK as long as you're being cognizant of the rest of your diet and you're avoiding the really, really high temperatures for prolonged periods of time.”

Dr. Seth Martin, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine, said that while this one study was not enough to draw a conclusion, it was still “eye opening” and “very provocative.”

“To me, it is intuitive that if you grill things and have all the chemicals and the char on it, that could have effects on arteries and lead to higher blood pressure,” Martin said. “But I would worry about it becoming distracting from things that we know make a big difference… when it comes to high blood pressure like diet, exercise and weight loss.”