A splash of beer or red wine in your marinade can do you some good, according to a recent study from the University of Porto in Portugal.

Marinating meat using beer or wine reduces the carcinogens produced from grilling by 90 per cent, compared to meat that’s not marinated. Isabel Ferreira, the study’s lead researcher, says the antioxidants and polyphenols in beer and red wine act as free-radical scavengers, targeting cancer-causing chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HA).

According to the study, beer is faster at reducing HAs than red wine. Reduced HAs in beefsteak occurred after four hours of marinating in pilsner at 8°C and after six hours in wine. Ferreira suggests it may be the sugars and starchy maltodextrins in beer that make the difference.

And make sure you have enough marinade for your meat or poultry. According to Victoria-based registered dietitian Danielle Van Schaick, you should allow a half-cup (125 mL) of marinade for every pound (500 g) of meat, and limit the amount of oil in the recipe to avoid smoke.

Try this: Marinate 1 lb (500 g) meat in half a cup (125 mL) beer, 1 clove garlic, 1 tbsp (15 mL) minced ginger and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Grill tip:
Keep fish skin and scales on to reduce the formation of cancer-causing compounds.

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