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What are AGEs (Advanced Glycation End Products)?

How Sneaky Compounds Can Sabotage Your Health – And How to Avoid Them

Close Up Shot of a Man Grilling Chicken

Ready to fire up the grill? Before you do, consider this: it’s not only what foods you eat, but how you cook them that can either make or break your health. 

Due to certain compounds that are activated in some foods by cooking processes, even “healthy” foods (like grilled meat or vegetables) can lead to premature aging, inflammation, and chronic disease. 

These compounds are aptly called AGEs. Let’s explore what they are, where they’re found, and how you can avoid them to live healthier. 

What are AGEs?

Advanced Glycation End Products, or AGEs, are compounds that form when sugar reacts with proteins or fats in your bloodstream. This process is known as glycation and can have some damaging effects on the body. Let’s break down how these compounds form to understand why we may want to avoid them…

On the Outside: The Maillard Reaction

When you cook foods at high temperatures, like grilling a steak or toasting bread, a chemical reaction called the Maillard reaction occurs. This reaction is responsible for the crispy browning and delicious flavors of grilled or seared foods. Unfortunately, the Maillard reaction can also cause the breakdown of amino acids, reduce the nutritional value of your foods, and can lead to the formation of AGEs.

On the Inside: Cellular Damage

Similar reactions can also occur within your body. When you consume foods high in sugar, those sugars can attach to proteins and fats in your bloodstream, leading to the formation of AGEs. This is a bit like the cooking process happening inside your body but at a much slower rate.

Where Are AGEs Found?

You can find AGEs in many of the foods we love, especially those that are processed or cooked at high temperatures or with dry heat (think grilled meats, fried foods, and baked goods). These foods not only taste good but also contain higher levels of AGEs​.

Foods that Contain AGEs

  • Meats, especially red meat
  • Certain cheeses
  • Fried eggs
  • Butter or margarine
  • Cream cheese
  • Mayonnaise
  • Some oils
  • Nuts, especially dry roasted
  • Fried and highly processed foods 

Cooking Methods that Create AGEs

  • Barbecuing 
  • Grilling
  • Roasting
  • Baking
  • Frying
  • Sauteing 
  • Broiling 
  • Searing 
  • Toasting

Experience a healthier future with Moringa Natural Health Center as we tackle AGEs—compounds that can significantly affect your long-term health. Our holistic approach focuses on dietary changes and smart cooking methods to reduce AGEs and improve your overall well-being. Ready to take control of your health? Schedule an appointment or call us now at 623-266-0059 to create a personalized wellness plan that works for you.


AGEs and Your Health 

As we can see from the lists above, AGEs are extremely common in most modern diets. Our bodies do have ways to clear away these compounds, and eating foods with high antioxidant values can help. But if we eat too many foods with AGEs, the body can’t keep up and they accumulate. These compounds eventually alter the normal function of proteins and fats, making them less efficient and leading to a buildup of damaged molecules in our bodies. That’s when we start to see some of these potential downsides of a high-AGE diet: 

  • Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
    AGEs promote inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are common underlying factors in many chronic diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease​.
  • Faster Aging
    AGEs contribute to premature aging by damaging collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep skin firm and elastic. This leads to wrinkles, sagging, and an overall aged appearance.
  • Hormone Imbalances
    The presence of AGEs can disrupt hormone function, contributing to metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, which are precursors to diabetes and other metabolic disorders​.
  • Cardiovascular Disease
    AGEs have been linked to the development of heart disease, likely because they can promote the formation of plaques in the arteries which leads to atherosclerosis.
  • Kidney Disease
    The kidneys are particularly vulnerable to AGE accumulation, which can impair their function and lead to chronic kidney disease​ and even renal failure. 

How to Avoid AGEs in Your Diet 

AGEs are found in many foods, so it’s not easy to avoid them entirely. But, by being mindful of what we eat and how we prepare our foods, we can reduce our intake of these harmful compounds and protect our health.

  1. Eat a Balanced Diet: Focus on consuming fresh, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. These foods are naturally lower in AGEs compared to processed and fried foods, plus they contain antioxidants that help reduce the negative effects of AGEs.
  2. Cook Smart: Opt for cooking methods that produce fewer AGEs. Steaming and slow cooking are better alternatives to grilling, frying, and baking at high temperatures​.
  3. Limit Sugar Intake: Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet can significantly decrease AGE formation. Avoid sugary snacks, beverages, and processed foods high in added sugars​. Opt for naturally sweet treats like fruit, dates, and no-sugar added snacks to satisfy your sweet tooth!
  4. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps flush out toxins, including AGEs, from your body.
  5. Exercise Regularly: Physical activity isn’t just good for staying fit! It also helps improve your body’s ability to manage blood sugar levels and reduce oxidative stress, thereby decreasing AGE formation.
  6. Supplement Wisely: Certain supplements, like vitamins C and E, can help combat oxidative stress and reduce AGE levels. Schedule a consultation to learn how smart supplements and IV nutrition therapy can help! 

Experience a healthier future with Moringa Natural Health Center as we tackle AGEs—compounds that can significantly affect your long-term health. Our holistic approach focuses on dietary changes and smart cooking methods to reduce AGEs and improve your overall well-being. Ready to take control of your health? Schedule an appointment or call us now at 623-266-0059 to create a personalized wellness plan that works for you.


Get Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle Support at Moringa Natural Health Center

Knowing what to eat – and how to cook it – to live well isn’t always straightforward! That’s why we’re here to help you navigate the sometimes complex world of diet and nutrition to help you find what works best for you. 

At Moringa Natural Health Center, we take a holistic approach to health and wellness. Understanding and managing AGEs is just one piece of the puzzle. Through personalized nutrition plans, natural therapies, and lifestyle changes, we aim to help you achieve optimal health and vitality.

Request an appointment here or call our office at 623-266-0059 to learn how we can help you find a nutrition and wellness plan to feel younger, longer.

Much love, 

Dr. Lena Fernandez

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