Good news on the barbecue front — it looks as if one of your favorite summer treats, grilled meat, could actually be prepared in a healthier way. It’s a simple marinade that is used by the Chinese (no surprise there!) that could do the trick.
As you probably know by now, you should cut down on your meat intake (especially red meat) — in order to reduce your chances of negative health consequences — but you can have it every now and then. Findings from a new study could help you cut down on the harmful effects of your occasional barbecue indulgence.
Researchers at a university in Taipei, Taiwan looked at the effects of three types of marinade on ground pork and boiled eggs. The marinades were very basic: 1) 90% water and 10% soy sauce; 2) 90% water and 10% sugar; and 3) 89% water, 11% soy, and sugar. In positive results, the pork and eggs soaked in any of the three marinades and then cooked showed reduced formation of “cholesterol oxidation products” (COPs).
COPs are harmful substances that are created in a chemical reaction that occurs when foods with high cholesterol content (e.g. pork) are cooked. It’s said that these harmful compounds — the result of the oxidation of cholesterol — could be triggers for heart disease and some forms of cancer. The researchers in the study noted that the longer food products are cooked, the higher their COP levels are.
The food marinated in the sugar mixture made the biggest difference when it came to the COP content — it cut the compound by 71% (compared to pork or eggs cooked in water only). The soy and soy/water marinades slashed the COPs by 63% and 60%, respectively.
The researchers theorize that the soy sauce or sugar marinades stimulate the release of “Maillard reaction products” (MRPs), which are compounds that fight the formation of COPs. The isoflavones found in soy could also help limit the creation of COPs.
So, give one of these easy marinades a try the next time you fire up the grill. You could be protecting your body from some serious diseases — plus you’ll be trying a new taste sensation!