Archive for Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Herbs, spices may help fight cancer

June 27, 2007


That well-done steak you ate from your grill last weekend doesn't have to keep you up at night, worrying about getting cancer.

Though crispy meats contain heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that cause cancer, a researcher at Kansas State University says certain marinades appear to decrease the risk.

J. Scott Smith, a professor of food chemistry, experimented with several prepackaged, powdered marinades found at the grocery store. They contained herbs and spices found in the mint family.

He found that marinating steak in a product containing rosemary and thyme (and also containing pepper, allspice and salt) decreased HCAs the most - 87 percent.

Two other marinades were almost as effective. One contained oregano, thyme, garlic and onion, and the other had oregano, garlic, basil, onion and parsley.

"There are different brands," Smith says. "We followed the marinating instructions according to the label. We cooked it, and it tasted fine."

He says grillers also can add the herbs and spices directly to their meats to get a similar effect.

Smith, whose research was done for the Food Safety Consortium, says he wants to research additional seasonings.

"I plan on taking a look at a lot of them, probably about 20 of them," he says. "The major ones are in the mint family - basil, sage, thyme, oregano and rosemary. They have some similar properties."


Ragingbear 11 years ago

So I guess we will live forever if we eat KFC every day?

gr 11 years ago

Great! Now we can eat bad things by taking an antidote at the same time.

(How much sense does that make?)

Ragingbear 11 years ago

About as much sense as a diabetic eating icecream with one hand and administering insulin with the other. Which I have seen before.

DaveR 10 years, 12 months ago

The professor of food chemistry needs to get out more. The better dishes of Chinese & Indian cuisines (not necessarily the ones you get in American restaurants) are specifically balanced for their medicinal effects. Since you are what you eat, if you eat foods in proper balance, you will be healthier. Even better if it's delicious, as most if not all are.

If the professor wants to have fun, he can visit a Chinese pharmacy & be stunned at the amazing number & variety of substances found there. Far, far beyond mere herbs & spices, as important as they are.

It really should be a requirement that all graduates in food science & food chemistry study Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to learn the ways in which they combine natural ingredients to obtain healing elixirs. It's not that TCM is an alternative to western medicine or that one might consider it if western medicine offers no hope, but that TCM leaves western medicine in the dust. If you don't study you will never know, and for that matter, there are darn few Chinese pharmacies around.

Prevent cancer? A good TCM can give you laundry lists of ingredients & their preparation that tonify the body with few if any side effects. And by comparison to western prescriptions, they're cheap.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.