Americans consume a diet packed with heat-processed and preservative-laden foods. Such foods contain high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGE), which are known to increase inflammation and oxidant stress within the body. People who eat a diet with a lot of AGEs are at risk for diabetes, cardiovascular issues and accelerated aging. To avoid these risks, you should limit or avoid the consumption of processed foods, including many packaged foods and foods that have been blanched, pasteurized or sterilized.
Foods that contain high levels of advanced glycation end products can age you. AGEs are commonly found in heat-processed foods and those high in sugar and fat. To combat the aging process, choose foods that are lower in AGEs and pay attention to how you are cooking items that do contain them. Keep reading to learn more about how you can reduce the amount of AGEs you consume.
Are the Foods You Eat Aging You Prematurely?
Avoid Foods that Age You
AGEs are created when protein or fat combines with sugar, which means that fatty proteins, sweets and carbohydrates usually have the highest AGE levels. The following is a list of foods that you should avoid or limit due to their elevated AGE content:
- Foods fried in oil, such as French fries
- Breads with a high glycemic index (white bread)
- Foods that contain a lot of pure sugar
- Fat-based products made with hydrogenated oils (margarine)
- Anything that depletes nutrients or makes you tired, such as alcohol and caffeine
As you can imagine, there are quite a bit of foods that fall into these categories. And, since fatty proteins can contain high levels of AGEs, you have to be careful about your meat as well.
Eat These Foods Instead
If you try to completely eliminate AGEs from your diet, you will be left with very few choices. The key is to reduce the amount of AGEs you eat by making substitutions and limiting portions. Here’s how:
- Instead of French fries, opt for baked sweet potato fries.
- Instead of white bread, eat whole-grain breads with no added sugar.
- Cut out sweets, opting to eat fruit instead.
- Choose oils and margarines that are high in anti-aging oxidants, such as olive oil.
- Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake, drinking water instead.
If you must have a food that’s high in AGEs, consume a smaller portion than you normally would. It’s also a good idea to spread these indulgences out over the course of days or weeks.
How You Cook Matters, Too!
Cooking, particularly with high heat, can increase the amount of AGEs present in your food, according to research. When you start with foods that naturally contain AGEs, like many meat products, and apply heat through grilling, broiling, roasting and searing, you actually contribute to the formation of new AGEs within the food. The same thing happens when foods are heat-processed in packaging facilities.
Certain ingredients can curb the formation of AGEs. Additives and marinades with high acidic content, such as vinegar and lemon juice, can inhibit AGE formation. The type of oil you cook with can also affect levels. Researchers found that food cooked with cooking spray had less AGEs than that cooked with butter. What’s more, foods high in antioxidants also formed fewer AGEs during cooking.
If you want to eat fewer AGEs, stay away from processed and packaged items. Instead, choose raw and organic foods that you can cook yourself. And don’t forget to pay attention to the ingredients you use. What you add to your dish can either increase or decrease the amount of AGEs in your food.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension!
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