Before we talk about AGEs and what they are, let’s start with raw and cooked foods.
Eating raw foods does have its benefit- you don’t lose the vitamin and mineral nutrients, but, it may pose its own problems. The most common among these is the potential risk of ingesting harmful bacteria. We are all familiar with E.coli outbreaks from consuming raw vegetables and meat. Your body also needs to take more effort to digest raw food.
So, is cooking always better? Not necessarily. You should have a balance between the two. Some vegetables like cucumbers are best eaten raw, while lightly cooking kale helps us absorb the Vitamin B12 present in kale, more efficiently.
But how you cook the food is more important. Cooking can help break down some proteins and complex carbs in the food making it easier to digest. But, this should preferably be done over low heat, and preferably in the presence of water.
When food, especially meat, is cooked at a high temperature and without moisture, like roasting, broiling, or frying, it leads to the formation of "Advanced glycation end products" or AGEs. These AGEs can cause increased oxidative stress, which then leads to inflammation anywhere in the body. Subsequently, this inflammation can cause heart disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia and various other chronic health challenges.
Formation of AGEs from vegetables is very minimal. Roasted nuts can also contain more AGEs than their raw versions.
And most importantly, the increased oxidative stress can cause cellular damage and make you age faster!! 😧 Now, isn't that one reason enough to keep you away from the AGE containing foods? 😉
Even instant breakfast cereals including "healthy" cereals and baby formulas have high AGEs due to the manufacturing process.
High fat and aged cheeses have more AGEs than low fat and fresh cheese.