Why Rosemary Needs to Be in Your Grilling Marinades

Why Rosemary Needs to Be in Your Grill MarinadesGrilling season is in full swing. Nothing says summer like the smell of meat on a grill. But, that smoke filling the neighborhood and causing people two blocks away to salivate has the same properties as cigarette smoke. I’m not trying to rain on your barbecue, I’m just telling you, right here, right now, that your charbroiled meat is a carcinogen. That means it has cancer-causing properties.

Never fear! Rosemary to the rescue!

The rosmarinic acid, carnosol, and carnosic acid in rosemary are antioxidants that block carcinogenic heterocyclic amines (HCAs) before they can form during the grilling process.

Don’t want the strong flavor of rosemary to overpower all of your dishes? Just put a freshly cut sprig in your marinade and let the oils do the job. Using a dry rub? Try brining first by putting your meat or poultry in a mixture of sea salt and water with a sprig of rosemary. Or, brush your meat, burgers, or even hot dogs with rosemary extract. I’ve never used rosemary extract, but from what I’ve read, it’s flavor is undetectable in food.

Basil, mint, sage, savory, marjoram, oregano, and thyme are also high in antioxidants and are great additions to your marinades.

Marinading, even for a short period of time, can reduce carcinogens by up to 99%! Just be sure you are making your own and not adding any sugar. HCAs result from the combination of creatine and sugars found naturally in meat. Add more sugar and you increase the carcinogens. Research conducted by the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii revealed vinegar-based marinades decreased HCAs by as much as 67% while commercial barbecue sauces loaded with sugar actually TRIPLED the HCAs!

Cancer is an epidemic. We all should be trying to do what we can to curb exposure to carcinogens. Rosemary is such a simple fix. If you don’t already have a rosemary plant growing in your garden, I hope you’ll go out and buy one before your next barbecue.


Image courtesy of KEKO64 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, edited by The Wellness Wife.

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