You have most likely heard the phrase: We are what we eat. And maybe you have also heard the phrase: We are what we absorb and digest. After all, it is true that you can eat healthy and nourishing foods, but if you are not absorbing and properly digesting the foods, you will not benefit from their nutritional value. Have you heard this one? We are HOW we cook our foods. With the grilling season now upon us, this is a timely post.
How you cook your foods has an impact on your health and longevity. Foods cooked using high heat in the absence of water, such as browned and sugary foods (think baked goods), processed foods, grilled meats, roasted turkey, and high heat stir fries form high amounts of toxic compounds called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs for short), and they literally do age you. These toxic compounds accumulate in the tissues of the body, leading to low grade inflammation and oxidative stress, which accelerates the aging process from the inside out. Your skin wrinkles, your joints ache, but what’s worse is high levels of AGEs cause your internal organs to age as well.
These AGEs have such an impact on our health that the A.G.E. Foundation’s goal is to have AGE levels recognized as a health marker, just like cholesterol, blood pressure, and BMI markers!
What can you do to lower your AGE levels? Try to cook with water as often as possible, using steaming, stewing (crock pot is great), poaching, and boiling over grilling, roasting, and frying. Water based cooking methods dramatically decrease AGEs. But we all love to grill during the summer months, right? A good tip: marinate your meat or chicken in lemon juice, vinegar, or another acidic substance before grilling to reduce the formation of the AGEs. And eat lots of fruits and vegetables which are naturally low in AGEs and also provide lots of antioxidants to combat the oxidative stress caused by AGEs! So indulge in a colorful salad to go along with your grilled chicken or steak!