(NaturalNews) Extracts from apples and grape seeds reduce the formation of a toxic chemical in fried meat, according to the results of a study conducted by researchers from the University of Hong Kong and Rutgers University and published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) form when meat from mammals, fish or fowl is cooked at high temperatures. Many of these HCAs have been shown to have genotoxic and carcinogenic effects, and may be partially responsible for the connection between meat consumption and many cancers, including of the breast, colon, stomach and pancreas.
Researchers tested the effect of extracts from apples, elderberries, grape seeds and pineapples on the formation of two varieties of HCAs in fried beef patties. The apple and grapeseed extracts were found to be most effective, reducing HCA formation by approximately 70 percent.
More specifically, apple extract reduced the formation of MeIQx HCAs by 69 percent and the formation of PhIP HCAs by 59 percent. Grapeseed extract reduced the formation of the same HCAs by 72 and 67 percent, respectively.
"This is the first report showing the inhibitory activities of apple phenolics on the formation of HCAs," the researchers wrote. "The findings provide valuable information for the development of effective strategies to minimize the HCA content of cooked meats and to identify several new natural products that may have new applications in the food industry."
"Incubation of beef with selected natural extracts (0.1 percent by weight) before frying can reduce the formation of HCAs," they suggested.
The researchers attributed the effectiveness of the extracts to three active components: proanthocyanidins, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid. Proanthocyanidins proved most effective, reducing the formation of both MeIQx and PhIP HCAs. In contrast, phloridzin reduced only the formation of PhIP, while chlorogenic acid reduced the formation of MeIQx but actually stimulated the production of PhIP.