Some of us like that "nice brown color" to our food and we cook it to that point because it looks delicious and appealing. The truth is that what you get by cooking your food that far is AGEs, the acronym for Advanced Glycoxidation End-products or glycotoxicins. AGEs and ALEs (Advanced Lipoxidation End-products) are in reality markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in your body and, as you probably know, oxidative stress and inflammation come hand-in-hand with serious chronic conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, chronic pancreatitis, obesity, insulin resistance, among others. AGEs/ALEs are closely associated with atherosclerosis, diabetes and neurological disorders.
Great! But what can you do about them? Well, diet is the major environmental source of AGEs and ALEs. The food you eat and the methods used to cook your food have a saying in creation and accumulation of AGEs and ALEs in your body.
FOODS THAT INCREASE THE RISK OF AGEs and ALEs FORMATION
- Meats: beef being the highest
- Higher-fat and aged cheeses (American cheese and Parmesan)
- High-fat spreads, including butter, cream cheese, margarine, and mayonnaise.
FOODS THAT REDUCE THE RISK OF AGEs and ALEs FORMATIION
- Milk (nonfat being significantly lower than whole milk)
In summary, foods high in protein and fats contain greater amounts of these bad compounds. Beef being the highest followed by poultry, pork, fish, eggs and lamb, in this order from higher to lower amounts of AGEs. High-fat and aged cheeses such as full-fat American and Parmesan cheeses are high in AGEs. High-fat spreads, including butter, cream cheese, margarine, and mayonnaise are high in these compounds.
Grains, legumes, breads, vegetables, fruits and milk are among the lowest items in AGEs/ALEs. Non-fat milk has significantly lower amounts compared to whole milk. However, yogurt, pudding and ice cream contained relatively low AGEs due to the moisture content of these foods.
COOKING PROCESSES TO REDUCE FORMATION OF AGEs and ALEs
- Low cooking temperature
- Short cooking time
- Presence of liquids in the cooking (avoid dry heat)
- Natural and homemade cooking
- Use of marinades with acidic solutions such as lemon juice and vinegar
Some examples of the positive cooking process to avoid these compounds are:
Poached or steamed chicken have less than 1/4 the AGEs of roasted or broiled chicken. Frying, broiling, searing, grilling, and roasting will yield more AGEs compared to boiling, poaching, stewing, and steaming. Short microwaving in microwave-safe containers for short periods of time (6 minutes or less) did not increase AGEs. Lean meats marinated in acidic solutions such as lemon juice or vinegar for about an hour before cooking decrease the formation of AGEs.
So, it is a combination of types of foods and methods of preparation that will help preserve your health.
Check this article online for a list of 549 food items with their amount of AGE: AGEs-ways to reduce in diet.pdf
By Dr. Lidia Alzate, D.C. - FOCUS CHIROPRACTIC CENTER: Burbank & San Fernando