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Healthy Up Your Burger with This Spice

Healthy Up Your Burger with This Spice

Cooking meat at high temperatures -- a la flame grilling -- can create cancer-causing substances. But here's a spice that counters it: rosemary.

Yep, mixing some rosemary into your burgers may make them not only tastier but safer and healthier, too. In a study, adding rosemary extract to beef patties before grilling slashed the production of harmful high-heat compounds by up to 90 percent.

Spice It Up
The cancer-causing substances created by high-heat grilling are called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). They form when amino acids and creatine react together under high temps -- and research suggests these compounds could up the risk of certain cancers, such as stomach cancer. In addition to adding rosemary to grilled meats, you can dial down the HCAs by cooking at lower temperatures and frequently turning meats on the grill. (Check out these tips for great ways to cut down on HCA production.)

Antioxidant Defense
How does rosemary extract beat back HCAs? It's high in antioxidants that may neutralize precursor compounds before they can turn into HCAs. Not a rosemary fan? Studies show that mixing ground meat with thyme, sage, or garlic or even chopped apples, pineapple, or cherries may do the trick as well. Follow these other tips for a healthier cookout:

Here are eight more ideas on how to make grilled food better for you.

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