How to Reduce Your Cancer Risk When Grilling Meat

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Studies have reported that grilling meat using high heat can increase your chances of cancer. But, here’s one healthy and delicious way to reduce your risk.

Cooking meat using high temperature is known to create toxins known as heterocyclic amines, which have been associated to some cancers. Grilling meat can form compounds called PAHs and HCAs, which, according to the National Cancer Institute, cause changes in DNA, which may increase your cancer risk.

Marinating lowers your risk through prevention of the formation of the toxins. But, 1 ingredient that makes a big difference is rosemary. Studies showed that adding rosemary to ground beef or other types of muscle meat before grilling, barbecuing, broiling or frying, significantly reduces heterocyclic amines.


In a study, that was published in The Journal of Food Science in March, scientists tested the extracts of rosemary on ground beef patties that were cooked at temperatures, between 375-400 degrees Fahrenheit.

The rosemary extract was added to both sides of the meat prior to cooking. The higher the concentration, the greater the reduction in heterocyclic amines, which is some cases by over 90%.

Scientists attribute this effect to specific antioxidants present in rosemary: carnosol, rosmarinic acid, and carnosic acid. Also, in a study 2 years ago compared several marinades, and reported that the one that was most protective was a Caribbean mixture, which, “contained considerable amounts”, of the same 3 antioxidants.

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If you are not into rosemary, or you have an allergy, you can try marinading with onion, garlic, and lemon juice. These ingredients, also showed in studies to be effective (onion and garlicmuch more so than lemon juice).

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NY Times

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