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Barbecues: Why You Should Add Beer

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If you’re a fan of barbecues, then you’ve probably come across beer-marinated steaks. But apart from imparting a unique flavour, it does something else to the meat that benefits more than just your tastebuds.

It’s no surprise that meat tastes great when cooked over an open fire, but the process actually creates molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – these actually damage DNA and may increase the chances of developing cancer (yes, those myths about eating too much barbecue are true).

This is because the fat and proteins cooked in this method release PAHs which are formed from free radicals. So, one way to counteract PAH levels is to apply antioxidants to absorb them. And guess what is rich in antioxidants? Beer!

A group of researchers from the University of Porto advise that the ideal solution to decreasing PAH levels is to marinate the meat in beer, the antioxidants of which come in the shape of melanoidins which form when barley is roasted.

The researchers tried barbecuing a pilsner marinade and a black beer marinade (which have more melanoidins than light-coloured beers). The results? Unmarinated steaks had about 21 nanograms of PAHs per gram; pilsner-marinated steaks had 21 nanograms, and those marinated in black beer only had 10 nanograms.

So beer-marinated steaks are great not just for taste, but for your health as well. Who knew?

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