Food preparation goes a long way in the fight against aging - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Food preparation goes a long way in the fight against aging

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Without question, plant predominant whole food menus are the healthiest and choosing organic foods is becoming essential to maintain optimal vitality. Once your refrigerator is full of colorful vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, and grains, is the quest for excellent nutrition complete?

Actually, an important additional factor for maximum well being and anti-aging is the method of food preparation. There are modified proteins and fats called advanced glycation end products or AGEs that are an important consideration in modern nutrition.

There is much known about the effect of AGEs on health and nearly 7,000 scientific publications are in the National Library of Medicine. Why know about AGEs? AGEs contribute to aging and if you care about wrinkles on your face, you must know about AGEs.

Perhaps more important, AGEs contribute to diabetes mellitus and its complications including neuropathy and AGEs are now known to fire up inflammation leading to heart disease, obesity and arthritis.

Studies show that when you reduce the amount of AGEs in your body you decrease your chances of developing debilitating chronic diseases. A body low in AGEs is an important goal.

Where do AGEs come from? There are 2 sources of AGEs. The first is internal. When our blood sugar rises too high for too much time proteins and lipids are coated passively by the elevated sugars. Managing your weight, avoiding processed foods, increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, avoid toxins like bisphenol A and exercise are all recommended to lower your blood sugar and the internal production of AGEs.

The second source of AGEs is "exogenous" and comes from our food. The manner in which food is prepared has a huge effect on the quantity of AGEs that then get absorbed into our bodies. Frying and grilling foods, particularly dry grilling like BBQing, are amongst the highest sources of AGEs in our diet.

For example, when AGEs are measured, fast food chain french fries have nearly 90 times the amount of AGEs of a boiled potato. Grilled or broiled chicken and chicken nuggets have 5-10 times the amount of AGEs of boiled chicken. Even a fried egg has 50 times the AGE level of a boiled egg. Butter and cheeses are naturally high in AGE content and can have 2-3 times the amount of a grilled piece of meat. Vegetables are naturally low in AGEs and their high water content protects them from AGE production when heated.

What can we do to avoid AGEing? Avoiding charred and blackened meats is wise both because of the high AGE content and a reported link to pancreatic cancer. If you are going to grill, marinate meat before and during cooking as moistened meats produce half of the AGEs of dry meats.

Lemon juice and vinegar combinations are particularly good marinades. Cooking for shorter times at lower heat and avoiding the high flames from extra lighter fluids and dripping fats is suggested. Keeping the grill clean of old burnt residues or grilling on tin foil may help avoid charring. Consider steaming, poaching or boiling your foods.

Healthy vegetarian and vegan diets are naturally low in AGEs and may be responsible for the longer life span in vegetarians and vegans. Finally, supplements like benfotiamine, carnosine, and alpha-lipoic acid may block some of the ill effects of AGEs.

The July 4th weekend is approaching and this information is not geared to put a wrinkle in your BBQ plans. Rather, intelligent planning can save a wrinkle from your face.

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