Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) form when sugars and fats react with a protein, causing a structure to change irreversibly, and then attach to many things in the body and cause damage. While we can create AGEs in our body after eating sugar, we can also straight-up consume these AGEs via foods that are processed and/or heated. Browning, caramelizing, grilling, roasting, broiling and frying create AGEs. Highly processed and canned foods heated during processing, as well as high-fat dairy products like cheese, are also culprits. AGEs can increase inflammation and oxidation that cause aging and age-related diseases affecting the heart, brain, bones and joints, kidneys, insulin resistance, anemia and skin.
Youth Boosters: Your best bets to reduce the consumption of AGEs are to eat raw when possible, eat foods in their whole form and cook them with a water-based method (like steaming, poaching or boiling) or marinate in an acid (like vinegar or lemon juice) before cooking. Eating a variety of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods can also help reduce the inflammation and oxidation that AGEs cause, so go for berries, sweet potatoes and leafy greens.