SuperHealth Tip: Uncooked and Cooked Foods

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Posted on 3rd January 2012 by admin in Super Health

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Cooked foods and sugar are the primary contributors to glycation. The Four Corners of Superfood Nutrition is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-glycation diet. If you follow my guidelines, it will go a long way in your fight against the Big Four—glycation, inflammation, oxidation, and angiogenesis.

Regarding these, I recommend eating at least one half of your diet as uncooked or minimally cooked live foods, mostly vegetables. While it may be impossible to totally avoid foods cooked at high temperatures, it is possible to reduce exposure by changing the way food is prepared. Consider steaming, boiling, poaching, stewing, stir-frying, or using a slow cooker. These methods not only cook foods with a lower amount of heat, but they create more moisture during the cooking process. Water or moisture can help delay the browning reaction associated with higher temperature cooking. Marinating foods in olive oil, cider vinegar, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, and dry wines can also help.

Avoid foods cooked at high temperature, such as fried, barbecued, broiled, or cooked in the microwave. Remember that any food, not just meat, exposed to extreme high heat can scorch the natural sugars in food and create fat-inducing toxins. Foods often cooked with high heat include many prepackaged foods that have been preserved, pasteurized, homogenized, or refined, such as the usual suspects—dried milk, dried eggs, white flour, cake mixes, dairy products, including pasteurized milk, and canned or frozen precooked meals.

Interestingly, diabetics were studied to assess the difference between consuming a diet high in foods cooked at higher temperatures compared with foods cooked at lower temperatures. After six weeks, diabetics consuming the foods cooked at lower temperatures lost weight, and their blood glucose levels dropped. The group eating foods cooked at higher temperatures did not lose weight and had increased blood glucose levels. The number of calories and amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats consumed were the same in both groups.

KC Craichy
Author
The Super Health Diet


Holiday Health Challenge Tip!

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Posted on 26th November 2011 by admin in Holiday Health Challenge

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In my book Super Health, I said that I believed that in five years glycation might be as well known as oxidation. Now, five years later, few people are aware that as you age your structural proteins are typically being slowly damaged by a process known as glycation, which is another damaging factor of equal standing with free radicals in oxidation and inflammation. To gain a basic understanding of glycation, consider that proteins are formed from amino acids and are essential for life, because they serve two critical roles. First, proteins provide structure for the body, such as collagen, which accounts for approximately one-third of your body’s total protein. It is found in skin, muscles, organs, and vascular structures and provides elasticity and cohesion to these structures. Second, proteins provide function in the form of enzymes that enable all life-sustaining biochemical reactions to occur within your body. Meanwhile, sugar, a simple carbohydrate, provides needed energy for your cells. When properly controlled and running smoothly, proteins and sugars interact without causing damage to the body.

Unfortunately, though, if during this process a sugar molecule (carbohydrate) attaches itself or cross-links with a protein molecule, the result is the formation of a nonfunctioning glycated protein structure called Advanced Glycation End products, or AGEs, which significantly alter the structure and function of proteins. It is ironic that the acronym is AGE, because it really is an accelerated aging process. This process is known as the Maillard or browning reaction and was first noted during the heating of foods in the presence of sugars. AGEs bind to a specific receptor for advanced glycated end products (RAGE), which is located on cells of the immune system (macrophages and T-cells), cells lining the blood vessels (endothelium), and vascular smooth muscle cells. The binding of AGE to the receptor, RAGE, results in damaging effects on those cells.

While AGEs are destructive enough on their own, their interaction with free radicals causes even more havoc in the aging human body. Many researchers suggest that oxidative stress may be involved in AGE formation and that, in a vicious cycle, AGEs may induce even more oxidative stress. In fact, most AGEs that accumulate in proteins are produced under oxidative conditions. As these AGEs and free radicals accumulate in cells and tissues, molecular damage and degradation down to the level of DNA increase, leading to many of the conditions associated with growing old. A growing body of scientific evidence theorizes that AGEs and similar molecules, such as advanced lipoxidation end products, or ALEs (the products of lipids cross-linking with sugars), are significant contributors to many common pathological processes leading to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disorders, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, stroke, visual impairment, and skin disorders.

Because proteins are present throughout the body, it makes sense that the destructive capacity of AGEs is vast. Understanding how to prevent the formation of AGEs is critical to slowing the aging process and reducing the risk for degenerative diseases.

KC Craichy
Author
The Super Health Diet