Nothing beats the smoky aroma of a thick juicy steak sizzling on a hot grill, but the American Institute for Cancer Research points out that grilling might increase the risk of various cancers. Anything that is blackened — from popcorn and leeks to meat and bread products — carries a risk of carcinogens, which are cancer-causing substances. Cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are produced when animal protein is cooked at the high temperatures used in grilling and broiling. But by marinating meat prior to grilling, you may actually reduce the formation of HCAs. Using herbs like rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano, sage, marjoram, and mint in your marinade will not only boost its flavor, but has also been shown to significantly decrease harmful HCAs. Just don’t reuse your marinades; a fresh batch for basting every time you cook will eliminate the risk of bacterial contamination.

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