Is Your Food Killing You?

By First Posted: Nov 30, 2010 Tue 8:14 PM Updated: Sep 21, 2016 Wed 11:21 AM
Is Your Food Killing You?
Image Credit: Madhuri Karma

Recent studies show that our food often does us more harm than good. One of such instances is when we unwittingly consume toxic chemicals called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs).

What are AGEs? AGEs are a species of toxic chemicals that are formed when we subject foods high in protein/fat/carbs to dry heat and high temperatures. These chemicals are very harmful to our health. They are known to be related to several diseases like obesity, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, allergies, autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, and several inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, asthma, ulcers, aches and pains.

Research also shows that dietary AGEs are involved in insulin resistance (pre-diabetes), visceral obesity (abdominal fat) and plaque formation, leading to heart disease. Continuous intake of these compounds contributes to excessive accumulation into body tissues, which suppresses the immune system and resistance to diseases. AGEs even accelerate the ageing process. AGEs are also formed during natural metabolism in the body. But the major part of AGEs in our body comes from our food.The foods rich in AGEs are roasted kebabs, fried snacks, diet sodas, foods subjected to high heat ovens/frying, broiling etc.

How To Reduce AGEs In Food? Though you may not be able to completely remove AGEs from your food, you can reduce the content of AGEs in your diet by following these simple tips:

Avoid Dry Heat: While cooking your food, avoid dry heating processes like roasting, frying or grilling. Go for moist cooking methods like boiling, steaming and stewing.

Avoid High Cooking Times: Cut the AGEs by avoiding heating food for long duration of time. Shorten the cooking duration by chopping your food into smaller pieces.

Reduce The Heat: Another way of reducing AGEs in food is to reduce the cooking temperature. When preparing tadka etc, do not heat oil to very high temperatures.

Acidic Environment: Use of acidic ingredients like lime juice and vinegar is actualy good for your health. This reduces the formation of AGes in food during the cooking process. Increase consumption of antioxidants from fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Cook with plenty of herbs and spices including turmeric, garlic, rosemary etc. Also, consuming protective foods like probiotics (lactobacillus strains) may be protective against the toxic effects of AGEs.

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