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Study Finds Spice-Rich Marinades Can Reduce Harmful Compounds When Grilling

Flavorful Marinades Offer Easy Ways to Enjoy Antioxidant Benefits of Spices

and Herbs

HUNT VALLEY, Md., July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Marinating that steak before tossing it on the grill may offer a whole lot more than just increased flavor. Antioxidant-rich spice and herb marinades may actually decrease the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) -- potentially cancer-causing compounds often produced in meat cooked at high temperatures -- by up to 88 percent, according to a new study in the August issue of the Journal of Food Science(1).



Simulating typical home cooking conditions, researchers from Kansas State University immersed steaks for one hour in marinades prepared from three varieties (Caribbean, Southwest and Herb) of pre-packaged marinade mixes. These steaks, as well as non-marinated steaks and steaks in non-spice marinades, were then grilled at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for five minutes per side. After grilling, researchers compared levels of HCAs in all steaks and found substantial decreases in HCAs in the steaks marinated with antioxidant-rich spices and herbs.

"When the various steaks grilled in the study were compared, it was clear that the spice and herb marinades were responsible for the most dramatic reduction in HCAs," said Hamed Faridi, PhD, Vice President of Research & Development for McCormick & Company, Inc. "These results are attributed to the antioxidant-rich qualities of the spices and herbs."

Pre-packaged spice and herb marinade mixes like McCormick(R) Grill Mates(R) make it easy and convenient to add flavor and protective health benefits to this summer's cookouts. The Grill Mates line-up offers pre-mixed simplicity with favorite flavor combinations like Southwest, Zesty Herb, Mesquite and more. Visit to learn more.

For those who prefer to create their own antioxidant-rich marinades from scratch, McCormick has identified key spices and herbs with the highest antioxidant capacity. These "Super Spices" are: cinnamon, oregano, red pepper, ginger, rosemary, thyme, and yellow curry. Did you know that just a half teaspoon of dried oregano packs about the same antioxidant power as a quarter cup of almonds or almost four cups of fresh spinach(2)?

To begin enjoying healthful homemade marinades, simply mix up a quick blend of antioxidant-rich spices and herbs, then add a few simple ingredients -- including other antioxidant superstars like green tea or pomegranate juice -- and you're just minutes away from six deliciously different marinades, each bursting with flavor and antioxidants. "Encouraging Americans to grill with spice and herb marinades may be one more nutritious way we can help promote good health -- in a way that's both easy and delicious," said nutrition expert Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RD, author of the newest edition of The SuperFoodsRx(TM) series, The SuperFoodsRx Diet: Lose Weight with the Power of SuperNutrients (Rodale, 2008). For marinade recipes and more information about the antioxidant benefits of spices and herbs, visit

About McCormick

With an extensive network of researchers, trend experts, chefs, home economists, food technologists, and sensory analysts, McCormick & Company, Inc. keeps its finger on the pulse of flavor. McCormick was founded in 1889 in Baltimore, MD. Today it is the largest spice company in the world. McCormick sources only the finest ingredients from around the globe to bring the highest quality flavors to consumers. For more information, visit McCormick online at, or call 1-800-MEAL-TIP (1-800-632-5847). McCormick does not endorse or provide any advice about prevention, diagnosis, treatment or curing of any health-related condition.

(1) Smith JS, Ameri F, Gadgil P. Effect of marinades on the formation of

heterocyclic amines in grilled beef steaks. Journal of Food Science.

Published online ahead of print, July 2008. The study was supported by

the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, USDA

and by the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station Contribution from

the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station. To view the study abstract


(2) Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods - 2007,

Nutrient Data Laboratory USDA, November 2007,

SOURCE McCormick
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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