Age: Are You Advancing Yours by Eating AGEs?

Oh, the irony. Age — a number you may be advancing by eating ingredients nicknamed as AGEs (1). You won’t find these highlighted on your ingredients list. They won’t be calling for your attention on the nutrition wheel. Yet they will absolutely be working against your body.

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Age: Are You Advancing Yours by Eating AGEs?

It seems like every day there’s a new evil.

Sugar. Dairy. Trans-fats.

Is there anything left that’s healthy?

As the wise would say — everything in moderation.

Sugar is easy to segment off as a treat. How can anything that tasty be good for you?

Then there are those in-between foods, foods like sweet potatoes. Foods that almost taste too good to be true. Still, all that’s needed is a small amount of research and you’ll know the world of sweet potatoes inside-out.

Here’s one you haven’t heard. One you’ll be celebrating if you’re vegetation. One that may put you off ever nearing an Atkins-style high-protein diet.

Meat contains a high dose of ingredients that actively age your body, stiffen your artery walls and promote heart disease (2). Ingredients called AGEs.

What are AGEs?

AGEs are short for advanced glycation end products. These bad news ingredients are formed when cooking up a meat feast.

Age: Are You Advancing Yours by Eating AGEs?

Meat contains natural sugars and many proteins. When raw, these molecules hang out like a teabag in cold water. When you add heat into the mixture, things change. Sugar and protein brew together to create a new molecule, a molecule named AGE.

The harder you cook your meat, the more AGEs are formed (3). That means, BBQ-ing, broiling and frying are all bad news for your health.

So just what do AGEs do to your body?

Ever use a two-part glue? Before mixing, those two ingredients are happily fluid, non-sticky and stable. As soon as they lay eyes on each other, you only have minutes before fluid turns to solid, sticky and again stable.

Imagine this happening in your body.

The two parts of your glue are sugar and protein. Cooking activates that binding phase and after finding themselves consumed, they harden into your bodily tissues. That could be your artery walls (4). Your heart (5). Your kidneys (6).

The next part of the story fills itself in. High blood pressure, heart disease and kidney failure.

How to minimise AGEs in your diet.

Vegetarians have a lot less to worry about. If you’re not prepared to forgo meats, these 10 snippets of advice will help you minimise the pathological effects of AGEs on your body.

1. Cook meats at low heat.

2. Eat your steak medium rare, or better yet — rare.

3. Slow cook often.

4. Switch meat for fish.

5. Switch broiling or roasting for poaching or steaming.

6. Pre-marinate meat with lemon juice or vinegar.

7. Cook bacon in the microwave.

8. Try poaching chicken instead of frying.

9. Indulge in sushi.

10. Commit to consecutive days or even a week of passive vegetarianism.

Protect your health and stay youthful. Implementing just a few of these changes to cooking style or diet will dramatically affect the daily portion of AGEs you consume.

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17452738

(2) http://journals.lww.com/jhypertension/Abstract/2003/01000/Cross_linking_of_glycated_collagen_in_the.2.aspx

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3704564/

(4) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mnfr.200700035/full

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19448391

(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12112941/

Make These 5 Food Switches to Live a Longer, Healthier Life

I eat, therefore I am — you’ve heard the sayings. Food is thy fuel.

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Its yummy taste masks with ease the raw functionality of what you choose to devour. The basics? Calories in should equal energy out.

Pulling up to your chosen filling station, you pay careful attention to whether that lifted nozzle reads petrol or diesel.

What does it say? Yes, diesel.

Make These 5 Food Switches to Live a Longer, Healthier Life

What was my hire car again? Oh, yes, diesel.

Let me just double check the keyring fob. Yes — phew — diesel.

Nozzle in, filling pump on, job done.

Now imagine filling your pride and joy with the wrong fuel. Imagine filtering in cut quality diesel or dare I whisper it… petrol.

Pause for shock.

Your body is the exact same. It’s designed to use certain types of fuel. When the wrong kind gets filtered in, your health battery goes down. So, make these five food switches for a longer, healthier life.

1. Cereal for porridge.

Breakfast is the most important meal of your day. I wholeheartedly praise you if you breakfast like a king. Great decision.

What do you eat? Rice Krispies? Fruit packed muesli? Perhaps chocolate coated Coco Pops?

Make These 5 Food Switches to Live a Longer, Healthier Life

Breakfast is full of sugar traps. Rice Krispies has more than 10% (1) in sugar content. Coco Pops have a whopping 39% (2). Sugar does not just make your teeth rot — it’s also linked to diabetes (3), heart disease and premature ageing (4).

Switch yours for porridge. A whole grain rich in health-protecting antioxidants (5), blood sugar regulating fibres (6) and cholesterol lowering beta-glucan (7).

2. Sugary treats for dark chocolate.

Diabetes is caused by the body being unable to process sugar; when untreated blood sugar levels go rogue. If you know someone whose diabetic, their skin will look older than their years. This is because blood sugar highs activate a biological process called glycation. And, this happens even if you don’t suffer from diabetes. Glycation is bad news for your body. Important proteins like collagen become hardened, brittle and aged.

Make These 5 Food Switches to Live a Longer, Healthier Life

Switch sugary treats for heart health-protecting dark chocolate. Studies show chocolate with more than 72% cocoa solids improves both heart health (8) and brain function (9).

3. Fruit for vegetables.

Your fruit bowl could be just as indulgent as your sugary snack draw. Eat an average sized banana and you’re consuming 14 grams of sugar (10). Indulge in a whole mango and you’ve just eaten 28 grams of sugar (11). Reach for a grape from your sickbed and you’ll be reaching for a treat with over a sixth of its nutritional value as sugar (12).

Make These 5 Food Switches to Live a Longer, Healthier Life

Switch fruit for immune-boosting vegetables, high in healthy vitamins and minerals.

4. Meat for fish.

The real culprit here is in the cooking. Meats have lots of natural proteins and sugars. When cooked, these ingredients do the same thing sugar does — they go through a process called glycation. Glycation gives birth to advanced glycation end products, or AGEs for short.

Scientists used to think AGEs got pushed out of the human body as waste. Now, however, there’s evidence AGEs are absorbed with harmful and health-depleting inflammatory effects (13). There are even links to Alzheimer’s disease (14).

Make These 5 Food Switches to Live a Longer, Healthier Life

Ramp down your meats and power up your health battery on anti-inflammatory omega-3 rich fish.

5. Vegetable oil for olive oil.

Ever wondered how vegetables make oil? Celery doesn’t look oily, your bok choy isn’t full of fat, and turnips aren’t laden in oil rich sauce.

In fact, vegetable oils are made from the seeds of plants like sunflower, safflower and soybean. These still don’t look that oily though.

To make oil from a vegetable, you’ll need to heat it up to 180oC, wash and extract it with lots of un-natural chemicals.

To make oil from an olive, you’ll just have to cold press it.

The health benefits of this switch are huge. Vegetable oils contain trans-fats, which have been linked to heart disease (15) and even cancer (16). Olive oil, on the other hand, is packed full of natural antioxidants that have been linked to the exact opposite, lower rates of high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer (17).

Make these 5 simple switches for a healthier, happier you.

(1) https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list?qlookup=08065

(2) https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list?qlookup=08014

(3) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1196/annals.1333.051/full

(4) http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/11237208

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19941618

(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18633670

(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25411276

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20858571

(9) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16794461

(10) https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2159?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=50&offset=&sort=default&order=asc&qlookup=09040&ds=

(11) https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2271?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=50&offset=&sort=default&order=asc&qlookup=09176&ds=

(12) https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2240?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=50&offset=&sort=default&order=asc&qlookup=09131&ds=

(13) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1196/annals.1333.052/full

(14) http://www.pnas.org/content/91/11/4766.short

(15) http://jn.nutrition.org/content/135/3/562.short

(16) http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/17/1/95.short

(17) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955286302002292