We are big fans of using dry rub recipes and marinades on our grilled foods. Not only do they make the foods taste great, but recent studies by Kansas State University have shown the antioxidant properties of many of the spices actually may reduce your risk of cancer.
Grilling and other cooking methods using high temperatures, such as broiling or frying, create some chemicals in the meats. These are as follow:
- Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs): These are formed as meats are cooked at high temperatures and have been linked to cancer.
- Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons are created as fats and juices come into contact with heat sources causing smoke, which can transfer to the meats.
- Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) are a byproduct of cooking meats at high temperatures. The AGEs are transferred to you by eating the food. AGEs are linked to 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.
There are three spices in particular that have been shown to have the highest amount of antioxidant properties which inhibit the creation of Heterocyclic Amines which are the carcinogenic compounds produced in high temperature cooking.
“Cooked beef tends to develop more HCAs than other kind of meats, such as pork and chicken, KSU food chemistry professor J. Scott Smith noted in a news press release. “Cooked beef patties appear to be the cooked meat with the highest mutagenic activity,” stated Dr. Smith to USA Today. Dr. Smith studied the HCA inhibiting potential of six spices: rosemary, galangal, finger root, coriander and turmeric. Rosemary came out as the strongest protector against the creation of HCAs. In fact, “Rosemary extract has shown HCA inhibition of 61% to 79%,” Dr. Smith reported to USA Today.
Other spices shown to have beneficial antioxidant properties are cinnamon, cloves, oregano, black pepper, paprika and garlic powder.
Also, according to other doctors, the addition of acids in marinades such as vinegar, lemon or lime juice the amounts of AGEs produced and passed to the consumers.
Other ways to eat healthy will not be a surprise to most of us, such as trimming the fat prior to cooking.
All of this leads us to the conclusion that health foods does not have to be bland and boring. Quite on the contrary, well spiced food using great dry rub recipes and marinades can be really good for you!