The Threat: Heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, are carcinogenic compounds created when meat is heated up. This barbecue bummer has been shown to increase the risk of breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and prostate cancers.
The Fix: Master the marinade. The American Institute for Cancer Research found that marinating meat can lower HCAs by as much as 99 percent. A Kansas State University study found that marinating steaks lowered HCAs by 87 percent. Rosemary marinades are particularly protective. Food Safety Consortium tests found gingerroot, rosemary, and tumeric — all high in antioxidants — curb HCAs in cooked meat, even when cooking is at high temps. (Rosemary is most protective.) Using avocado oil can help, too. The oil — rich in cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fatty acids, has a high smoke point, reducing harmful oil oxidation.