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Using "lean" or "reduced fat" market ground beef is a good idea for those that eat red meat. Here is some good news for those that like the flavor but fear the side effects.
Results of a new Kansas State University study suggest that adding certain spices to ground beef may help lower the accumulation of dangerous compounds that are known to cause cancer. For the study, lead author Scott Smith and his colleagues sought to identify natural ways to reduce the carcinogenic compounds that are commonly produced when ground beef is grilled, fried or boiled. Known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs), these compounds have been proven to increase the risk of developing colorectal, stomach, pancreatic and prostate cancers.
"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."
Working off of the theory that antioxidants can help combat dangerous carcinogens, the researchers tested the effectiveness of several spices in inhibiting the formation of HCAs. They found that fingerroot, rosemary and turmeric were the most successful. In fact, rosemary extract was able to reduce HCA formation by 61 to 79 percent.