What You Can Do One Hour Before Grilling Beef To Reduce Your Risk Of Cancer…

31 Dec

In a world where there is so much disagreement, here is a statement we can all agree on: No one wants cancer.  If there is a simple and inexpensive way to help prevent it, why not do it?  While there is great buzz about “cancer genes” and how much of a role they play in an individual actually getting cancer, there should also be great buzz about eating right, reducing stress, getting the proper amount of sleep, and doing all the other things that help optimize your immune system so you can live up to your full genetic potential, whatever that potential may be for you.

That being said, there are several studies on the subject of “grilled meat.”  In the research, the various authors discuss heterocyclic amines (HCAs). HCAs are SUSPECTED human carcinogens (cancer causing) formed in muscle foods (meat) during high temperature grilling or cooking.  One study, published in the Journal Food Science, studied the effect of marinades rich in polyphenolic antioxidant containing spices in HCAs.  According to the study: “The marinades were formulated according to the package label instruction in an oil, water, and vinegar mixture, and the steaks were treated for one hour prior to grilling.  All three marinades: Caribbean, Southwest, and herb, significantly decreased the imidazo-azaarene HCAs (MeIQx, PhIP) as contrasted to controls and liquid blanks.  The Caribbean mixture showed the highest decrease in the total HCA content (88%), followed by the herb (72%) and Southwest (57%). With a few exceptions, there were significant decreases in HCAs for treatments with only the marinade bases (ingredients without any spices/herbs).  As measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), the marinades contained considerable amounts of the polyphenolic antioxidants carnosic acid, carnosol and rosmarinic acid with Caribbean being the highest.  Commonly available spice-containing marinades can be effective inhibitors of HCA formation and provide reduced exposure to some of the carcinogens formed during grilling.”  

Does this mean if you marinate your steaks one hour before grilling them in this Caribbean mixture you will not get cancer?  No.  Does it mean you will… for sure… reduce your risk?  Can’t say that either.  But it’s pretty safe to say this:  Science and research are not perfect.  They are only as good as the imperfect humans doing the research and interpreting the data.  Every month, there are studies that say what we believed last year (“proven” in a study) was wrong.  But that doesn’t mean you should throw your hands up in the air and ignore everything and eat junk food and sugary drinks all day.  Try eating natural foods over processed foods.  Exercise moderately instead of sitting on the couch.  Think positive thoughts more than negative thoughts. And maybe… just maybe… if you eat steak… consider a Caribbean marinade one hour before. 


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