Black Pepper and Cancer Control



What is HCA - The Carcinogenic Compound


J Scott Smith is a professor at the Animal Science and Industry department in Kanas State University. Through his studies, the professor has been able to prove that black pepper inhibits the development of Hetrocyclic Amines (HCA).

HCA is group compound which develops on the meat surface while it is been cooked. These compounds are categorized as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the department of World Health Organization which deals with cancer studies. Any type of meat, fishes included may develop HCA on its surface during cooking.

Scientific Study for Elimination of HCA from Cooked Meat:

In one laboratory setup, the professor treated 100 grams of mashed beef with 1 gram of black pepper, finely ground. The percentage of pepper per gram of meat worked perfectly in the inhibition of HCA on the meat surface, yet the pepper taste was too strong to be palatable. The professor is thus of the opinion that in order to completely eliminate the formation of HCA on the meat surface in a domestic setup, it is advisable to cook the meat with a combination of spices like garlic and oregano. He concludes that using spices at a practical level makes the food healthy without compromising on the taste.

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J Scott Smith - Body of Work:

In a lifetime worth of research on the presence of carcinogens on meat, Smith has worked on the effects of marinades in stopping the growth of HCA on the meat surface without compromising on taste.

Smith was able to determine that a regular marinade from the super-market would prevent the development of almost any HCA. However the professor has his opinion with respect to time for marination. Based on his studies, professor Smith has been able to determine that the anti-oxidants present in marinade decompose if the time of marination is prolonged. About 2 hours is the optimum time for marination.  

Most of professor Smith’s body of work is focused on the effect of various anti-oxidants which prevents the formation of HCA.

Professor Smith from his studies has recognized a number of spices and herbs which are effective in the inhibition of HCA on the meat surface. Examples are mint, rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, marjoram, basil, sage, myrtle.

To go with the health benefits, the professor also has a culinary tip or two to share. For instance the fact that rosemary does not taste so good with steak, but is an excellent addition to fish.


Also Read: Recipe for Cinnamon and Zucchini Cake

Source: Science Daily



Abhro Bhattacharjee

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