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Reduce Cancer-Causing Chemicals in Your Burgers With These Ingredients

Spice Up Your Grilled Burgers and Reduce Your Cancer Risk

With Memorial Day kicking off the unofficial start to grilling season, it's likely there are plenty of burgers in your near future. Unfortunately, cooking meat at high temperatures (like grilling) can create carcinogenic chemicals known as heterocyclic amines (or HCAs), which have been linked to cancer risk. The good news? Certain add-ins can make your meat much safer to cook — and more flavorful, too!

Studies have found that adding rosemary to uncooked meat will greatly reduce the amount of HCAs found in your beef after cooking, attributed to the antioxidant carnosol. If rosemary isn't your thing, there are other ingredients that work, too. To find out what they are, keep reading.

  • Fingerroot Also called Chinese ginger, this spice is found mainly in Asian dishes, and gets its name from its shape. A study from the Kansas State University found it also aids in reducing HCAs in cooked meat.
  • Turmeric The same study found that turmeric, an Indian spice found in many curries and known for its yellow color, can reduce carcinogenic chemicals.
  • Garlic and onion You may already add these tasty, barbecue-friendly ingredients to your ground beef before cooking, but they also reduce HCAs.
  • Blueberries It may seem odd and counterintuitive to add fruit to meat, but mixing a cup of ground blueberries or cherries into a pound of ground beef before grilling can reduce HCAs by up to 90 percent. And according to this recipe, the taste is undetectable.

What do you mix into your ground beef before grilling?

Image Source: Thinkstock
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SaraNoH SaraNoH 5 years
so would it be safe then to cook meat over a low heat for a period of time? say, ground beef in a pan? yay, more chemicals to avoid.... :(
shaima shaima 6 years
Curcuma, people! I don't use it directly in meat, but in a sauce, it's delicious! And there are more and more studies about the anti-cancer effects thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Spectra Spectra 6 years
Oooh, cool! We haven't really started grilling out yet (because our old grill broke and we haven't bought a new one yet!), but I just got the meat grinder for my KitchenAid and I'm psyched about putting different mix-ins with my meat to make burgers tastier. I most definitely will be trying the onions and garlic, but I'm dying to try mixing blueberries in as well! Sounds so yummy!
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
Does this apply to grilled veggies or just meat?
pixiedusk pixiedusk 6 years
oh a really really good tip!
pixiedusk pixiedusk 6 years
oh a really really good tip!
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