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Hamburgers, Spices & Antioxidants


Study Results Show Antioxidant-rich Spice Blend Could Decrease Formation of Potentially Harmful Oxidative Compounds in Cooked Hamburger

According to a new study published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adding a spice mixture with antioxidants to hamburger meat before cooking could decrease the concentration of potentially harmful oxidative byproducts in cooked burgers.

When researchers from the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition seasoned half-pound hamburgers with about one and a half tablespoons (11.25g) of an antioxidant-rich blend of cloves, cinnamon, oregano, rosemary, ginger, black pepper, paprika and garlic powder, the cooked burgers had an average of 71% lower levels of a compound called malondialdehyde compared to the burgers without added spices.  And, when the spiced burgers were consumed by the eleven adults participating in the study, the amount of this compound that was excreted from the body in urine over the next six hours was reduced by 49% compared to when non-spiced burgers were eaten. Further,in those who ate the spiced burgers, there was a decrease in the potentially harmful compound in the body, as measured in plasma. 

Malondialdehyde is an oxidative byproduct of high heat processing of foods that contain unsaturated fatty acids – especially arachidonic acid.  These compounds have been linked to unhealthy inflammation which is widely believed to be associated with a variety of chronic diseases. Given the magnitude of decrease in malondialdehyde, the researchers conclude that "spices that are rich in antioxidants may be useful when cooking meat products". 

Please refer to for the study abstract, which was funded by the McCormick Science Institute.

Source: Li Z, Henning SM, Zhang Y, Zerlin A, Li L, Gao K, Lee R, Karp H, Thames G, Bowerman S, Heber D. Antioxidant-rich spice added to hamburger meat during cooking results in reduced meat, plasma, and urine malondialdehyde concentrations. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010 [Epub ahead of print].

Laurie Harrsen



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