Are your food and cooking choices accelerating
the aging process?
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When it comes to health,
many people are aware of the major do's and don'ts of maintaining a
healthy lifestyle and diet. However, people often focus on their
cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index, or BMI, and
overlook another key medical marker: advanced glycation
end-products, or AGEs. AGEs are harmful compounds in the body that
accelerate the aging process and are linked to many of the top
health concerns people face today.
AGEs develop in the body or are ingested through certain foods,
including browned, sugary and processed foods. When people consume
too many of these foods, higher-than-normal levels of AGEs build up
in their tissues. This accumulation accelerates the aging process
from the inside out. Slowing the progression of AGEs is vital to
living a long, healthy life.
In an effort to educate the public
about AGEs, the A.G.E. Foundation, a global not-for-profit
organization, is unveiling the findings of its U.S. survey on the
effects of eating habits and cooking methods on aging. The A.G.E.
Foundation is dedicated to educating consumers about AGEs and how
they can protect themselves.
The impact of eating habits and cooking methods on aging
Seventy-six percent of Americans know that eating and preparing
processed food can accelerate aging, according to the survey.
Thirty-two percent cited the manner in which they prepare food as
having an impact on aging, while just 11 percent indicated cooking
food at high temperatures affected aging.
During the outdoor cooking season, people may heat up the grill
with limited awareness of the way to reduce AGEs. The survey showed
that six in 10 people prefer grilling their meat over oven-roasting,
which was preferred by 23 percent; stir-frying, chosen by 9 percent;
steaming, preferred by 3 percent; and poaching, selected by 1
"It is important for people to limit the amount of barbecued,
sauteed or even toasted food," said Dr. Michelle Davenport, a board
member with the A.G.E. Foundation. "We've found that the higher the
temperature you cook something, the higher the AGE level -- and
excessive AGEs cause our bodies to age prematurely."
The survey also showed that when people are eating processed,
fried or sugary foods, 81 percent are more concerned with the impact
on their weight, compared with 58 percent who are more concerned
about the effect on their internal organs.
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Controlling your AGEs
The key to lowering AGEs is to reduce heat, extend cooking time
and incorporate more water and acid into your food preparation,
according to the A.G.E. Foundation. Water-based cooking methods
(i.e., steaming, poaching) dramatically reduce AGEs. When queried
about healthy ways to prepare meats for grilling, herb and oil
ranked the highest, at 34 percent, followed by "straight to the
grill," at 21 percent. Only 17 percent of respondents knew that
adding an acid-based marinade was the best cooking method to reduce
"Adding a marinade in the form of lemon, lime or vinegar can cut
AGEs by 50 percent," Davenport said.
Avoiding foods high in AGEs and opting for brightly colored
fruits and vegetables and whole grains, which are low in AGEs, is
also recommended. Opt for foods that include iridoids, which are
healthy elements produced in plants and found in certain fruits and
vegetables like noni, blueberries, olive leaves and Cornelian
cherries, as well as the supplemental beverage TruAge Max.
In addition to eating a healthy, fresh diet and preparing low-AGE
level foods, it's important to quit smoking, exercise regularly, get
enough sleep and control stress levels to achieve an AGE-less
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