You might be aging too fast … from how you cook your food.
The manner and the temperature in which we cook our food has a large impact on our brain and body. Higher cooking temperatures results in the formation of unnatural and unhealthy substances referred to as advanced glycation end products.
These substances are ironically abbreviated as “AGEs” and are now known to contribute to accelerated insulin resistance, inflammation, aging, cell degeneration, and disease. AGEs are formed in the body when sugars and protein molecules are heated together at high temperatures.
We now understand that how we cook our food may be as important as what we eat.
The high temperatures used in commercial processed foods or when grilling or roasting at home will produce more AGEs that a similar dish cooked at home by steaming, boiling, stewing, or cooking in a crockpot.
AGEs are becoming a growing concern in medical science because the evidence indicates that consumption of a diet high in AGEs increases inflammation within the brain and body. AGEs are associated with an increase rate of tissue aging, loss of muscle mass and strength (sarcopenia), as well as an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, diabetes mellitus (1 and 2), rheumatoid arthritis, cataract formation, degenerative ophthalmic diseases, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.
The connection between food temperature preparation and health is so striking that diabetic patients can lower their blood sugars and blood pressure simply by cooking their foods at lower temperatures over longer amounts of time. This realization, that blood sugar and blood pressure numbers can be positively manipulated by cooking methods, gives people an opportunity to improve their health in a whole new way.
Although Food labels do not list AGEs as ingredients, but there are several things you can do to reduce their formation in the food that you eat and their subsequent harm on your health.
One way is to switch your cooking methods to ones that are “low and slow” or ones that use moist heat. Cooking at lower temperatures with crock pots, boiling, stream, or poaching produces a lower content of AGEs compared to broiling, roasting, grilling, or frying.
Switching to these low and slow cooking methods may be a challenge for some people because the higher temperatures that lead to unhealthy AGEs formation also produce the characteristic smell, taste, and color of the dishes that people are so accustomed to eating.
Meat cooked in a crockpot will undeniably look different than meal cooked on a barbeque grill, but in our efforts to regain or maintain our good health each meal matters.
Another way is to shift your diet towards a higher proportion of cooked foods that are lower in AGEs such as vegetables, fruits, fish, and beans. Cooked meats and full fat cheese, for example, also contain more AGEs than other types of cheese like reduced fat mozzarella. You may also shift your diet to avoid dry-heat processed foods like crackers and chips.
An additional strategy is to try to avoid the outside part of the food that was exposed to the high heat. One common thing to cut out of your diet is bread crust. The inside of the bread loaf or the crumb has much less AGEs than the crust, so avoiding the bread crust can help lower AGE consumption.
Also, be aware of how your food is prepared when you dine out.
Avoiding foods cooked in cooking oils that are frequently reheated, like deep fryers in restaurants who use one batch of cooking oil over and over, can also greatly reduce the amount of AGEs consumed.
Some restaurants use a French cooking method called “Sous Vide” where meat is cooked in low temperatures inside a pouch in a water bath, which lowers AGE formation. Sous Vide cooking is also something people may easily duplicate at home with a water heating machine that attaches to regular cooking pots that can be purchased from multiple vendors for about $100.
Another strategy is to use cooking ingredients and seasonings at home that are known to lower AGE formation. Marinating meats in an acid solution (vinegar, lime or lemon) for one hour can cut the production of AGEs in grilled meat in half.
Seasoning with black pepper, cinnamon, curcumin, parsley, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, clove and sage all have been shown to reduce AGE formation in foods. The consumption of olive oil, fish oil, green tea, and red wine are all associated with lower levels of AGEs within the blood stream.
Supplementing with quercetin (a natural polyphenol found in many types of plants) can also be helpful for some people. Quercetin is a strong antioxidant that can chelate heavy metals from tissues, scavenge oxygen free radicals and prevent the oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL) which is hypothesized to contribute to the formation of plaques found in heart disease, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease.
A more advanced strategy to combat AGEs is called Intermittent Fasting which involves restricting to only calories (500 per day) one or two days a week. Intermittent Fasting produces short term stress on your cells that in turn promotes cell healing. Intermittent Fasting reduces levels of AGEs, improves longevity, and reduces the incidence of cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.
My wife and I have been doing Intermittent Fasting one day a week for over a year now, and we feel shockingly good on the days that follow our fasting day. We have also begun Sous Vide cooking some of our meats and we have been impressed with the texture and flavors produced with that style of cooking.
Staying healthy is a fulltime job which requires your best efforts every day and at every meal. Pay attention how your foods are spiced and cooked, and at every opportunity cook low and slow and with moist heat. Reducing the formation of AGEs is one way to help prevent many of the diseases affecting so many of your friends and family.
I am an internal medicine physician (D.O.) from UCLA and my Internal Medicine and Autonomic practice is in the Phoenix area. I use a variety of methods including Vagal Nerve stimulation, and I have discovered a multifaceted formula for Autonomic Nervous System restoration that is so groundbreaking that I filed a patent application for The Nemechek Protocol™ for Autonomic Recovery (Patent Pending) in 2016.
I have also published a book titled The Nemechek Protocol™ for Autism and Developmental Delay which is available at AutonomicRecovery.shop.
For additional information, call my office 623-208-4226 or go to AutonomicMed.com.
This article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship.
© 2017. Nemechek Consultative Medicine, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Patent Pending.