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February 11, 2015 • Healthy Eating & Nutrition, Healthy Living

Why You Should Always Marinate


For those who enjoy the enhanced flavor marinating meats imparts, this study gives us an additional reason to engage in this culinary practice – much safer food. In line with other studies, researchers found that marinating meats prior to cooking at high temperatures dramatically reduces the formation of a class of cancer-causing compounds known as heterocyclic amines (HCA’s).  HCA’s form in the muscle fibers of meat when it is exposed to high temperatures.  Grilling creates the most, followed by pan-frying and broiling. As reported in the Journal of Food Science (August 2008), scientists marinated beef roundsteak for 1 hour in 3 different bottled marinades selected from the grocery shelf prior to pan-frying.  The marinated steaks had up to an 88% reduction in HCA levels compared to steaks that were not marinated.  Although the exact component(s) of the marinades responsible for blocking the formation of the HCA’s has not been determined, scientists speculate that antioxidant phytochemicals in the herbs and spices typically found in the marinades are the likely “active ingredients.”  I strive to marinate any muscle meats (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, and venison) prior to cooking them at high temperatures like grilling or broiling.