The act of cooking meat with fire can lead to the formation of cancer-causing compounds, but a new study finds that marinating meat in beer before grilling it can cut down on levels of these carcinogenic particles by as much as 50 percent. According to the study, cooking animal meat on a hot grill causes free radicals to develop, leading to the formation of carcinogenic compounds. Soak the meat in beer for four hours and you'll imprison those radicals.
Antioxidants found in beer and other beverages like wine and tea help mop up these unhealthy molecules when used as a marinade over meat. In this particular study, dark ales like Guinness and Murphy's Irish Stout proved to be more effective in combating free radicals than pilsners or non-alcoholic beers because, the researchers say, darker beers contain more antioxidants.
Just because Guinness makes your steak marinade healthier, don't think you should be breaking out the bourbon or tequila. "We believe the high sugar and alcohol content of liquors can increase the formation of [carcinogenic compounds]," says the study's lead author, Isabel Ferreira, a professor at the University of Porto in Portugal.