UPDATE: 5/31/10 - "Spices top the list of foods rich in antioxidants, explained Marianne Gillette, a vice president at McCormick & Company, whose background is in experimental taste research. One half teaspoon of ground cinnamon has as many antioxidants as a half cup of blueberries; a half teaspoon of dried oregano rivals three cups of raw spinach." Complete article
Spicing up red meat doesn’t just add oomph to hamburgers on the grill.
By Catherine Donaldson-Evans. 5/24/10
A new study suggests that when sprinkled on ground beef during cooking, spices like cumin, tumeric and rosemary help lower its cancer-causing carcinogens.
Lead author J. Scott Smith, a food chemistry professor at Kansas State University, has for years been working on methods to cut the amount of carcinogenic compounds known as heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, found in barbecued ground beef patties and other so-called “muscle foods.”
HCAs are produced when the meat is either grilled, barbecued, fried or boiled. Eating it means ingesting the dangerous compounds, which have been linked to increased risk of cancers of the stomach, lung, prostate, mammary glands, colon, rectum and pancreas, according to a news release.
In research backed by the Food Safety Consortium, Smith found that some spices containing antioxidants can reduce the levels of HCAs in ground beef patties by about 40 percent — if they’re added during cooking. “Cooked beef tends to develop more HCAs than other kinds of cooked meats such as pork and chicken,” Smith said in a statement. “Cooked beef patties appear to be the cooked meat with the highest mutagenic activity and may be the most important source of HCAs in the human diet.” Smith didn’t immediately return requests for comment from AOL Health.
Prior research he has done showed that rosemary extracts for sale online can stop HCAs from developing by 61 to 79 percent, and Thai spices can block the compounds by 40 to 43 percent.
Other studies indicate that meat cooked for fewer than four minutes in temperatures under 352 degrees Fahrenheit had low levels of HCAs, levels of which seem to increase as cooking temperatures and times rise.
The spices with antioxidants can block the HCAs before they even form during the heating process, but still allow for higher temperatures. In addition to cumin, coriander seeds, rosemary and tumeric, Smith also says he saw the same benefits in fingerroot and galangal.
The highest levels of antioxidant activity were found in tumeric, rosemary and fingerroot, with rosemary being the most effective at inhibiting HCA production, the study found.
Smith said he plans more studies on the potential benefits of marinades and powders when added to cooked beef patties.
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Study Suggests Adding Spices to Meat Cuts Cancer Risk - AOL Health