This is one area of longevity research that is the hardest to follow as it challenges the very way we eat and prepare food in our daily life. Anything that may affect our social life or interfere with our food choices is a no-go area for many people. However, researchers continue to explore how our eating habits are directly impacting our health and pointing out the areas making the most dramatic effect on chronic disease development. We would be wise to pay heed to this knowledge and make changes when and where we can in our daily lives.
So what are these AGEs that scientists have discovered?
AGEs stands for Advanced Glycation End products and are produced when protein or fat combines with sugar in the blood stream in a process called glycation. High levels have been found to cause oxidative stress and inflammation in the body leading to chronic disease like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and premature ageing.
While there are mechanisms in the human body able to remove these AGEs, it is the over consumption and accelerated inflammation that overwhelms these clearance mechanisms allowing these toxic substances to build up in the cells and cause cellular damage. Many of these AGEs have been found concentrated in the cerebral spinal fluid of diabetics for instance and contribute to their health decline, such health issues as eye sight failure, kidney failure and brain vascular complications. These scientific findings are helping us understand how AGEs drive cellular inflammation and cause us to age prematurely.
There are a number of ways we can be exposed to these AGEs but one of the most frequent exposures comes from the daily foods we eat and the way we cook them. Foods that have been exposed to dry heat at high temperatures develop high levels of these AGEs. Cooking methods such as frying, grilling, roasting, toasting and barbecuing all create high levels of glycation in the food. Add to that, foods that are processed, that we regularly consume such as butter, margarine, mayonnaise, nuts, oils, coffee and certain cheeses and we certainly have the potential to overconsume and over accumulate these AGEs.
Even if we think we have a fairly healthy diet, you may still be consuming excess levels of these harmful AGEs simply by the way we cook and prepare our food.
Besides only eating cucumber and lettuce for the rest of our lives is there anything that can be done to deal with these AGEs and their inflammatory effects in the body?
Eating more foods that are prepared using your slow cooker like soups, stews and casseroles, steaming our foods and moving towards a more raw food diet certainly reduces the intake of AGEs. Also avoiding those foods that are high in AGEs such as grilled or roasted meats, solid fats like margarine and butter and highly processed foods will limit the amount of AGEs consumed. Basically, eating fresh, seasonal foods and minimise the cooking of our foods is a simple goal to achieve in our kitchens.
To make things even easier for us, research is focussing on a number of novel ways to reduce the impact of AGEs including the down regulation of the receptor for AGEs (RAGE), increasing the clearance of AGEs from the cells, inactivating RAGE expression, increase antioxidant and glutathione protection of proteins and improve the breakdown of AGEs before they even have a chance of entering the circulation. Nutrients such as resveratrol, curcumin, green tea, blueberries, vitamin C, broccoli sprouts and vitamin D are improving all factors of AGEs damage and removal from our systems.
So the answer is to be conscious of our diet and improve it where we can, less processed and highly cooked foods and more fresh foods cooked low and slow. Also, take those scientifically validated nutrients found to protect us from the ravages of these AGEs. Our blends have been developed to give therapeutic doses of those nutrients mentioned above and allow us to be proactive in reducing the impact of AGEs on our cellular function helping us to live a long and healthy life full of vitality.