What are AGEs and how can you reduce them in your diet? Find out what you need to know here.
SupermarketGuru has always stressed a varied and balanced diet rich in high-quality, colorful fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, and meat and fish – but now there is more to pay attention to, how to cook and prepare your food. Studies have found that various methods of cooking will affect the food in different ways - this article will focus on advanced glycation end products, aka: AGEs.
Why should you want to know about AGEs? AGEs as the abbreviation points out are associated to aging and more importantly they can contribute to diabetes, kidney issues, inflammation leading to heart disease, obesity and arthritis. Studies have found that when you reduce the amount of AGEs in your body, you decrease your risk of developing chronic diseases.
Where do they come from?
AGEs are generated in our bodies as a normal consequence of metabolism; their formation is accelerated under conditions of high blood sugar, high blood fats, and increased stress. AGEs are also absorbed by the body from outside sources such as cigarette smoke and through consumption of highly heated processed foods.
Browning our food during cooking is used to enhance the quality, flavor, color and aroma of the diet. This process (known as the Maillard reaction) generates large quantities of AGEs. Other factors that enhance AGE formation in foods include high fat and protein content, low water content during cooking, elevated pH and the application of high temperature over a short time period.
More AGEs are generated in foods exposed to dry heat (grilling, frying, roasting, baking and barbecuing) than foods cooked at lower temperatures for longer time periods in the presence of higher water content like boiling, steaming, poaching, stewing or slow cooking.
What can we do to avoid AGEs and aging? Marinate! AGEs are also significantly reduced by cooking with moist heat, using shorter cooking times, cooking at lower temperatures, and by use of acidic ingredients such as lemon juice or vinegar. Diets rich in vegetables and fruits are also lower in AGEs.