We are big fans of using dry rub recipes and marinades on our grilled foods. Not only do they make foods taste good, but recent research from Kansas State University has shown that antioxidant properties in many of the spices can actually reduce your risk of cancer.
Grilling and other cooking methods that use high temperatures, such as boiling or frying, create some chemicals in the meat. These are as follows:
- Heterocyclic amines (HCAs): These are formed when meat is cooked at high temperatures and have been linked to cancer.
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are formed when fat and juice come into contact with heat sources which cause smoke which can be transferred to the meat.
- Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) is a by-product of high temperature cooking meats. AGE is transmitted to you by eating the food. AGE is associated with an increased level of heart disease, diabetes and in some cases kidney disease.
These studies show that these risks are drastically reduced by the incorporation of spices in the form of rubs or marinades.
In particular, there are three spices that have been found to have the highest amount of antioxidant properties that inhibit the formation of heterocyclic amines, which are the carcinogenic compounds produced in high temperature preparation.
Cooked beef tends to develop more HCAs than other kinds of meat, such as pork and chicken, noted KSU food chemistry professor J. Scott Smith in a news release. “Cooked beef cakes appear to be the cooked meat with the highest mutagenic activity” said Dr. Smith to USA Today. Dr. Smith studied HCA inhibitory potential for six spices: rosemary, galangal, thyme, coriander and turmeric. Rosemary came out as the strongest protector against the creation of HCAs. In fact, “Rosemary extract has shown HCA inhibition at 61% to 79%,” Dr. Smith reported to USA Today.
Other spices that are found to have beneficial antioxidant properties are cinnamon, cloves, oregano, black pepper, paprika and garlic powder.
According to other doctors, acids in marinades, such as vinegar, lemon or lime juice, added to the amounts of age produced and passed on to consumers.
Other ways to eat healthy will not be a surprise to most of us, such as trimming the fat before cooking.
All of this leads us to the conclusion that health foods need not be bland and boring. On the contrary, well-seasoned food using good dry rub recipes and marinades may be really good for you!