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Report: Marinating meat in beer reduces cancer risk

Who doesn’t love a cold beer at a BBQ on a hot summer day? Well your BBQ just got even better, because according to a new study, using it to marinate your meats before grilling can actually help reduce your risk of cancer.

Studies have found that grilled meats can sometimes contain cancer-causing substances after cooking. Some may argue that grilling meat gives it great flavor. This taste, though, comes at a price, since the process creates molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which damage DNA, and thus increase your chances of developing colon cancer.

But now, in a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers said they found a way around the problem. When barbecuing meat, they suggested, you should add beer.

The researchers found that by applying antioxidants to the meat before cooking, they could stop the formation of PAHs and free radicals in the intense heat. Beer is rich in antioxidants, in the shape of melanoidins, which form when barley is roasted.

Additional studies have also cited mixed vegetables and herbs as a helpful factor in helping reduce the formation of carcinogens. One study suggested that beer, wine and tea marinades had all been shown to reduce the levels of some potential carcinogens in cooked meat.

When it comes to marinating your steak: the darker the beer, the better. Unmarinated steaks average 21 nanograms of PAHs per gram of grilled meat. Those marinated in a Pilsner averaged 18 nanograms, but those marinated in dark beers like Guinness or Murphy’s stout averaged only 10 nanograms, keeping the meat tasty and healthy.

To make your steak even healthier and limit the amount of carcinogens that form from grilling, trim the fat and cook it at a temperature below 300°F while continuously flipping it so it doesn’t get too charred in one area.   

Dr. David B. Samadi is the Chairman of the Department of Urology and Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He is a board-certified urologist, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of urological disease, with a focus on robotic prostate cancer treatments. Dr. Samadi joined Fox News Channel in 2009 as a medical contributor. To learn more please visit his websites RoboticOncology.com and SMART-surgery.com. Find Dr. Samadi on Facebook.