It's football season. And you probably love to throw some hamburgers or steaks on the grill and enjoy them while watching a game. Like me, you may have become concerned about the health problems grilling can cause. New studies have shown that grilling can cause meat fats to oxidize, which can make them cancer-friendly. But you can do something very simple to your meat to keep it from becoming a carcinogen.
All you have to do is marinade your meat before you grill it.
Last year, a group of researchers found that a marinade made with certain herbs and spices can protect your meat while you cook it. This study, which you can find in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that a variety of marinades can keep the fat in meat from oxidizing. One marinade was particularly effective. It contained garlic, ginger, thyme, rosemary, and red chili pepper. This group of spices reduced the production of cancer-causing toxins by 74%.
But it wasn't just herbs and spices that worked. Wine also was able to protect meat. So was beer.
Apparently, the antioxidant content of the alcohol, herbs, spices, and nutrients helped build a protective barrier around the meat. The longer you cook the meat, the less effective this barrier is. So you don't want to overcook your meat when grilling.
Amazingly, these marinades can protect your meat when you fry it as well. While frying isn't a healthful way to cook meat (it usually involves extremely high temperatures and overcooking the meat, not to mention oxidized oil), knowing the power of these marinades is good news if you do like to fry your meat.
So if you want to enjoy a steak or a hamburger while you watch the game - or while you're tailgating - make sure you marinate it before you grill it. The nutrients in the marinade will protect your meat from oxidizing and you from getting cancer.
If you want to eat really healthy meat, make sure it's grass-fed. This reduces the amount of fat in the meat and the fat that is in the meat is the preferred omega-3 fat. Also make sure the marinades are GMO-free. The best way to do this is to make your own from scratch with fresh ingredients.
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Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.