As I dive into reading more about plant based eating, I was reminded of some important differences in cooking foods in general (not just plants). In certain instances, cooking creates byproducts called advanced glycation end products or AGEs for short. These byproducts do just that….AGE you prematurely. Yikes! AGEs are linked with inflammation resulting in blood vessel damage which can lead to heart disease and stroke. People with diabetes naturally produce more AGEs because of the higher sugars so this is especially important if you have any blood sugar issues. Not only what you eat but how you prepare your food becomes so very important to avoid these nasty byproducts.
While the actual act of cooking isn’t aging you (sorry, you can’t use this as an excuse, haha) how you are cooking might just be. READ ON for 8 steps to avoid advanced glycation end products and how to help your meal preparation be safer…
AGEs are produced when very high heat is used as well as cooking foods for longer periods of time. The cooking methods that are most responsible for producing AGEs include frying, grilling and roasting. For example, when cooking on the grill and you get those grill marks, AGEs have just been produced!
Meat and full-fat dairy products contain more AGEs in their natural state than veggies and fruits.
Here are 8 tips to avoiding AGEs
- Marinate your food. Meats marinated in acidic compounds like wine, vinegar or citrus for at least one hour produces half the amount of AGEs when compared to non-marinated meat. Cooking in the acidic compounds also helps lower AGEs.
- Cooking on low heat. Cooking food on lower heat decreases the AGES compared to cooking the same food on high heat.
- Try steaming, poaching, stewing or braising meats. Steaming chicken cuts down AGEs by nearly 75% compared to roasting or broiling.
- Microwave – microwaving actually produces less AGEs compared with dry heat methods but be aware there are other issues with microwaving your food all the time!
- Limit grilling. All grilled foods will contain more AGEs than when cooked with moist heat. Don’t forget that marinating prior to grilling can reduce this amount.
- Limit heavily processed foods because they naturally contain more AGEs.
- Avoid dry heat – always use an oil or broth that can tolerate the temperature you are cooking with. Dry heat produces some the most AGEs of all the cooking methods.
- Cooking over ceramic surfaces rather than metal can lower the AGES in foods.
To your health,