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Sugar cravings may be an indication that your body’s blood sugar levels are out of balance. If this goes on for an extended period of time, this can lead to insulin resistance, which if left unchecked may progress to Type 2 Diabetes.  

Insulin resistance basically means that sugar cannot enter cells and instead causes high blood sugar, which is damaging over time. High blood sugar can also increase your production of AGEs, harmful compounds that can age you. No one wants to age faster than they should be. Find out about AGEs and how you can help slow down the ageing process.

What are AGEs?

What is an AGE you ask? It’s short for “Advanced Glycation End Products”. These are compounds that form naturally in our bodies as a result of the chemical reaction between sugar and proteins or fats (this reaction is called glycation). We produce AGEs through normal metabolism, but if they build up in the body, they can cause damage to every single organ over time.  In short, AGEs can AGE you!

What do AGEs do in the body?

AGEs accumulate over time and are hard to remove from the body. They can cause the hardening of arteries and blood vessels, the sagging of skin, the loss of elasticity and even the increasing stiffness of joints – all common signs of ageing!

AGEs from food

Recent studies have highlighted just how diet may also be a significant source of highly reactive AGEs. Some foods naturally have a high amount of AGEs, and what is also very important is HOW you cook your food, as some methods of food cooking can vastly increase AGEs. Cooking methods that produce the most AGEs are: grilling, frying (especially deep-frying), barbequing, toasting and baking. Significantly less AGEs are formed when you steam, boil or poach.  Consuming as much raw food as possible is the best strategy as far as AGEs are concerned!

What you can do to reduce your exposure to AGEs:

  1. Balance your blood sugar -The first step to reducing AGEs is to keep your blood sugar balanced through a diet rich in complex wholegrains, lean protein and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (raw if possible). Limit your intake of caffeine, sugary drinks and snacks, alcohol and even cigarettes.
  2. Know your AGEs - Get to know what the high and low AGE foods are. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3704564/table/T1/
  3. Raw, steam, poach – Choose your cooking methods carefully and eat as much food raw as possible.

The best anti-ageing plan you can follow!

Whilst it’s inevitable that you will be exposed to a certain level of AGEs each day, you can dramatically reduce your exposure by following these three simple steps. Probably the best anti-ageing plan you can follow!

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