Don’t AGE Yourself With Your Cooking

The way you cook may be just as important to your health as the food itself.

“Advanced glycation end products” (AGE) is a class of toxins that have been linked to inflammation, insulin resistance, diabetes, vascular and kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s. And they are absorbed into your body when you eat animal products cooked or processed at high temperatures. (Think grilling, frying, smoking, or broiling, as well as pasteurizing.)

A recent study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences evaluated 172 healthy men and women in two age groups – a younger group (between the ages of 18 and 45) and an older group (between the ages of 60 and 80). The researchers wanted to determine how age and diet influences the accumulation of AGE in the body.

While researchers found that AGE levels were 35 percent higher in the older group, they could be very high in young, healthy people, as well. In fact, AGE levels in some of the younger, healthy adults in this study were as high as those seen in diabetic patients.

The higher the consumption of foods rich in AGE, the higher the blood levels of AGE and CRP and other markers of inflammation… in all the study participants.

So how can you cook to AGE less? It’s pretty simple. Just keep the heat down and maintain the water content in your food. That means enjoying more raw, fresh foods. And when you do turn on the heat, choose to boil, slow-roast, steam, or stew. Also, because pasteurizing promotes AGE, opt for raw milk, cheeses, and juices.

[Ed. Note: Kelley Herring is the founder and CEO of Healing Gourmet (, and is editor-in-chief of the Healing Gourmet book series. Learn more about how simple lifestyle choices can improve your health by reading ETR’s free natural health e-letter.]