Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) are harmful compounds that result from a series of chemical reactions between glucose and proteins. AGE end-products contain irreversible covalent cross-links, making them resistant to degradation. They accumulate in the body, leading to complications in a variety of diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's, and aging.
AGEs are formed through a process called glycation in which sugars attach to proteins, fats, and other molecules. This process is natural and happens in our body, but environmental factors can also increase the formation of AGEs. Heat and dry cooking methods like grilling, frying, and roasting, particularly at high temperatures such as over 121 °C (249.8 °F), can lead to an increased production of AGEs.
Glycation and the formation of AGEs occur within the body as part of normal metabolism, but it can also occur through environmental factors such as cigarette smoke and air pollution. AGEs can also be found in some foods. Foods that are high in protein and fat tend to form more AGEs than other foods. Some foods to watch out for include:
- Grilled, fried, or roasted animal products such as bacon and steak
- Processed meat products like sausage and deli meats
- Fried foods such as French fries and potato chips
- High-fat dairy products such as cheese and butter
- Baked goods such as cookies, pastries, and cakes
AGEs can have several harmful effects on the body. They contribute to the ageing process by reducing the elasticity and flexibility of connective tissues, leading to wrinkles in the skin. They also damage proteins in the body, impairing their normal function. AGEs can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by causing stiffening of blood vessels and impairing artery function. AGEs can also lead to complications related to diabetes, including kidney disease and nerve problems.
Reducing the intake of food that contains AGEs and cooking methods that create AGEs in food can help lower the amount that accumulates in the body. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources can provide antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that help reduce the buildup of AGEs in the body.
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are harmful compounds that are formed when sugars attach to proteins and other molecules. AGEs are formed naturally in the body but can also be formed through environmental factors such as heat, dry cooking methods, cigarette smoke, and air pollution. AGEs can cause a variety of harmful effects in the body, including contributing to the aging process, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, and leading to complications related to diabetes. Reducing intake of foods high in AGEs and cooking methods that create them can help reduce their accumulation in the body.
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