Whether your grill, broil or sear meat on the grill, there are carcinogenic compounds that are produced in your food.  These carcinogenic compounds are called HCAs (heterocyclic amines). You actually consume carcinogens all the time, but mostly from vegetables. But don’t worry, you can protect yourself from harmful carcinogens with extra antioxidants.

First, if you want to stay clear from HCAs, then you can cook meat in water rather than on grill, broiled or seared. The healthy way to cook – and consume meat – is in a soup or crock pock.  By doing so, you eliminate harmful HCAs from your food.

But, who doesn’t enjoy a good steak from the grill!  Let’s face it, grilled meat – especially grass-fed meat – is hard to give up for plain old soup!  Grilled grass-fed burgers are my favorite!

That is why it is so important to know how to reduce – and counteract – the effect of carcinogens from grilled meat. The good news is it can simply and affectively be done with old fashioned spices!

The spice tip

The simple tip to reduce HCAs (heterocyclic amines) from grilled meat is to marinate it for at least 7 hours in liquid mixtures that contain rosemary and other herbs or spices. The highly potent reactions from these antioxidants dramatically reduce and prevent carcinogenic compounds forming on your meat when it is grilled, giving you a healthier meal – with tons of flavor and taste.

Specifically, include these herbs when you marinate meat:

  1. Rosemary
  2. Thyme
  3. Garlic
  4. Oregano

The antioxidants in rosemary and thyme specifically inhibit HCA formation in grilled meats. Their powerful anti-carcinogenic properties have been cited in various studies, in addition to other spices such as garlic and oregano. Use a variety of these spices to stop the buildup of carcinogenic HCAs when grilling meat. They provide a mouthful of taste to a wonderful rare steak burger!

The right and wrong way to grill meat

Like your meat well-done? Sorry, but the level of meat doneness is an indicator of how much carcinogenic HCAs are present. The more well-done a meat is cooked, then the higher concentration of HCAs. If you are one of those that like your steak well-done, a healthy dose of antioxidants from spices, teas and berries help to combat those extra carcinogens. Let’s not a good steak go to waste!

Follow your well-done steak or BBQ meat with unsweetened iced tea and a healthy portion of salad or raw veggies. The tea and veggies are rich in antioxidants that combat the effect of HCAs in your body from grilled meat.

But if your veggies are cooked on the grill, then carcinogens might still be present. The dangers of carcinogens are not limited to grilled meat. Charred vegetables have a different carcinogen, acrylamide, that needs extra antioxidant power.

We all love a great barbeque, but don’t let the scare of HCAs or acrylamides prevent you from enjoying a nice piece of grilled stead!  Protect your body with these spices that pack antioxidant power against the formation of HCAs from grilled meat.

Grilling season is here!  Enjoy the next barbeque in a healthier way!

Read more about healthy foods for the grilling season:

7 odd foods that flatten your stomach


by Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialist
Author of Best Seller: The Truth About Six Pack Abs