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

Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are a class of toxins that have been linked to inflammation, insulin resistance, diabetes, vascular and kidney disease, physical aging and Alzheimer’s disease. And they are absorbed into your body by eating foods cooked or processed at high temperatures. (Think grilling, frying, smoking or broiling, as well as pasteurizing).

AGEs are also created INSIDE of your body when your blood sugar is elevated.

Diet and AGEs: Eat Right To Age Less

A recent study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences evaluated 172 healthy men and women in two age groups—a younger group (consisting of people between the ages of 18 and 45) and an older group (between the ages of 60 and 80).  Researchers wanted to determine how both groups’ age and diet influenced the accumulation of AGEs in the body.

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

In all of the participants, the researchers found the higher the consumption of foods rich in AGEs, the higher the blood levels of AGEs, and higher the levels of CRP and other markers of inflammation.

Healthy Cooking to Reduce AGEs

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 boil, slow roast, steam or stew. Also, because pasteurizing promotes AGEs, opt for raw milk, cheeses and juices.

But the MOST important thing you can do to reduce AGEs in your body is choose foods that are low glycemic. The reason? High blood sugar levels are the primary cause of AGE formation in the body. Learn more about stabilizing blood sugar in these articles: