Many people add chopped rosemary or ground turmeric to their burgers and meatloaf for added flavor. However, research that was led by scientists at Kansas State University reveals that it may also help to reduce levels of harmful heterocyclic amines (HCAs).
HCAs have been known to develop in meat when it is cooked, particularly when done so at high temperatures for an extended period of time. Such compounds have been associated with colorectal, stomach, lung, pancreatic, mammary and prostate cancers.
“Cooked beef tends to develop more HCAs than other kinds of cooked meats, such as pork and chicken,” said lead researcher J. Scott Smith.
The team of scientists tested the effects of cumin, coriander seeds, galangal, fingerroot, rosemary and turmeric on levels of HCAs in ground meat. They found that the latter three spices were the most effective antioxidants, with rosemary coming out on top.
Previously, Smith had found that rosemary extract has the potential to slow the formation of HCAs by 61 percent to 79 percent, while spices found in Thai cooking were about 40 percent effective.