Please don’t shoot the messenger, but there is danger lurking in barbecued and grilled foods.

It’s called glycation, and the term for the toxic end product is AGEs

(advanced glycation end products). AGEs are compounds that can form when you cook food at high temperatures. Depending on your diet and overall health, they can build up in your body. This is a big problem because AGEs become permanent in the body and are linked to various health problems, from diabetes and neurological decline to cardiovascular disease. 

AGEs can form in foods cooked at high heat, especially grilled, fried, or toasted foods, and adding a sugary marinade or BBQ sauce compounds the problem. This means that even if you think you are eating healthy with grilled meats, seafood, and oven-roasted vegetables, you could still consume an unhealthy amount of AGEs without realizing it. Browning, searing and grill marks are signs of AGEs being formed. YIKES!

Here are tips to help you reduce accelerated aging caused by AGEs that promote living younger, longer and better!

  1. Avoid charred, heavily grilled, sugar-coated, seared, or fried foods. Choose healthier cooking methods to reduce the amount of AGEs you consume. Cooking low and slow with acidic marinades helps offset the production of AGEs, especially for meats. Skip the sugary bbq sauces and go for herbs, spices, and acid for flavor. The more antioxidants, the better! Here’s my recipe for Lemon, Basil and Garlic Marinade for chicken.
  2. I am obsessed with olive leaf extract for its powerful punch of antioxidants and how it inhibits AGEs. The polyphenols in olive leaf also support gut microbiota health by feeding beneficial gut bugs, making it a great addition to your diet and a way of offsetting AGEs. I take one a day. 
  3. Balance your blood sugar and get plenty of fiber. AGEs accumulate more in people with elevated blood sugar, so everything you do to balance blood sugar helps. This includes eating lots of vegetables, avoiding sugary foods and drinks, and getting plenty of fiber. I recommend adding 1 tablespoon of ground raw flax seed to an 8oz glass of water 30 minutes before meals. This helps you hydrate, supports a healthy gut, and controls appetite. YAY!

You can still enjoy occasional grilling but try to offset that with healthier habits. 

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I am a passionate advocate for food as medicine, life navigator and culinary coach. This is my space for sharing what excites, inspires and motivates me to live my best life. It began as a recipe blog for nourishing, simple, weekday meals and has become something much bigger… a guide to resilient wellness. I am excited to share my knowledge of how daily habits can cumulatively help you to live like you mean it and age like you want to.