That gnarly rosemary bush in the backyard could make grilling your burger a whole lot safer.
For years we’ve been warned not to cook meats at sky-high temperatures because the charring can cause cancer. Now a new study shows that rosemary and rosemary extracts can actually block the formation of Heterocyclic Amines (HCA’s) – the carcinogenic compounds that form when meats are grilled.
In a study published in The Journal of Food Science, researchers found that adding rosemary extract to ground beef eliminated HCA’s by as much as 90 percent. The antioxidants found in rosemary—arinic acid, carnosol and carnosic acid—were found to play a vital role in lowering the formation of toxins in the meat.
In other studies, marinating meats was also found to have a protective effect. Adding rosemary, garlic, onion and lemon juice will help reduce carcinogens in grilled meats.
Tips to reduce HCA’s
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• Don’t use the highest heat setting on your grill
• Lower broiler rack or raise the grill away from the flame
• Use leaner cuts of meat, trim fat and remove skin prior to grilling
• Avoid eating the charred meat
For a marinade idea —See the Recipes section