Spices commonly used to season cooked ground beef may also reduce the risk of consuming compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that can cause cancer .
HCAs are the carcinogenic compounds that are produced when muscle foods, such as ground beef patties, are barbecued, grilled, boiled or fried. Consuming HCAs through meat increases risk factors for colorectal, stomach, lung, pancreatic, mammary and prostate cancers.
J. Scott Smith, a Kansas State University food chemistry professor, found that certain spices containing natural antioxidants would reduce HCA levels by 40 percent when applied to beef patties during cooking.
Smith’s research team investigated six spices – cumin, coriander seeds, galangal, fingerroot, rosemary and tumeric – and found that the latter three had the highest levels of antioxidant activity toward inhibiting the formation of HCAs, with rosemary as the most effective.
“Cooked beef tends to develop more HCAs than other kinds of cooked meats such as pork and chicken,” Smith said. “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.”
Previous studies have shown that meat products cooked below 352 degrees Fahrenheit for less than four minutes had low or undetectable levels of HCAs, with HCAs increasing with higher temperatures and added cooking time. It’s not a good idea to lower cooking temperatures too much, so antioxidant spices with phenolic compounds can block HCAs before they form during heating and still allow high temperatures to be maintained.
Consumers can take advantage of the spices by integrating them into their cooking regimen. Previous research has demonstrated that some commercial rosemary extracts, available for purchase on the Internet, can inhibit HCA formation by 61 to 79 percent. Smith’s earlier work also showed that Thai spices can inhibit HCA formation by 40 to 43 percent.
Smith said future research in this area will investigate what some marinades or powders can do to inhibit HCAs when applied to a cooked patties. His earlier project showed that marinating steaks with certain herbs, rosemary and other antioxidant spices also reduces HCAs.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Is The X(5568) A True Resonance ?
- How We Predict Climate For Decades - Yet Can't Forecast Weather For Ten Days - Chaos Patterned With Order
- The Five Stages Of A Dying Theory
- Why Science is Worth Studying.
- Should Pregnant Women Be Concerned About BPA?
- Mark Bittman Can't Succeed In Food, So He'll Teach It
- Molluscs May Provide Chemical Reproduction Insight Beyond Endocrine Disruptor Hype
- "Whats the story about wormwood mr walker apparently this is in the Bible and so many are claiming..."
- "I've just written this up as a short article:I get some people who ask me to reassure them that..."
- "Hi Tommaso, I really want to read your book but the price looks rather high for such a product..."
- "As the great Andrew Martin once said One is glad to be of service. :-)But seriously, this..."
- "Tracy, no there is nothing to be scared of. I get some people who just ask me to reassure them..."
- At High Altitude with Buzz Aldrin
- Hand Sanitizer Can Cause a False Positive Breathalyzer Test
- Another Day, Another Children's Homeopathic Product Recalled
- Annoying Studies’ Series: Newborn Weight Gain (Again!)
- Five PM? Time for Breakfast!
- Include Aerobic Fitness in Physical Exams, Heart Association Recommends