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Reduce advanced glycation end-products to slow aging and prevent degenerative diseases

Pat Baird Registered Dietitian and a member of the A.G.E. Foundation Advisory Board

When it comes to our overall health, we often think about our cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index (BMI). However, there’s a fourth medical marker that’s just as important but rarely discussed—Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs). At high levels, AGEs are harmful compounds when proteins combine with excess sugar. AGEs can also consumed through the food we eat.

Over time, AGEs can reach high levels in our body and cause damage that accelerates the aging process from the inside out and impacting nearly every age-related health concern we discuss today. And as more studies are released surrounding AGEs, the more we learn about the role they play in the rise of diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and more.

Although we cannot prevent the natural formation of AGEs in our body, we can control their accumulation through limiting processed, overcooked, caramelized, high-sugar and high-fat foods. By being cognizant and reducing these foods high in AGEs, we can prevent the harmful compounds from reaching dangerous levels in the body.

The following are nutritional ways you can keep your AGE levels in check.


Do cook with water

The content of AGEs in your food can be drastically cut if you cook with water, so try boiling, poaching, stewing and steaming foods. The ultimate AGE-fighting cooking tool is your slow cooker, which reduces AGEs by as much as 80 percent when compared to broiling or other dry-heat cooking methods.

Do eat colorful fruits and vegetables

No matter if they are raw or cooked, brightly colored fruits and vegetables contain natural antioxidants that fight AGEs and harmful free radicals in the body. Also, fruits like blueberries, noni, cranberries and olives contain natural elements called iridoids, which have been shown to lower AGE levels in the body.

Do marinade meat

Meat, especially when cooked on the grill or in other dry-heat environments, can be full of AGEs by the time it is ready to eat. Next time you take to the grill, use an acid-based marinade, which can reduce AGEs by up to 50 percent.

Do talk to your doctor

AGEs are not widely discussed in annual check-ups, but like blood pressure or cholesterol, it can be measured through.simple blood, urine or tissue tests.


Do not eat processed and sugary food in excess

It is nearly impossible to completely cut out processed and sugary foods from your diet – especially considering the amount we are on the run. But, it is important you limit both, as they contain high levels of AGEs.

Do not cook meat (especially fatty meat) at high temps

Again, moderation is the key here, but cooking meat, especially fatty meat, at high temperatures can be an AGE disaster. It may be hard to avoid the grill during the summer months, but use the previously mentioned marinade and incorporate the slow cooker whenever possible.

Do not smoke

It may not be a surprise, but along with all the other health problems, smoking has been shown to elevate AGE levels. So here is yet another reason to avoid the bad habit.

Do not stress out

We all know the negative effects of high stress levels, but stress, and consequently poor sleep, prevent you from living an AGE-less lifestyle.

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Eating and living well can stop the progression, and in many cases, reverse the damage of AGEs. And through simple things like avoiding processed, overcooked, caramelized, high-sugar and high-fat foods and beverages, it isn’t too late to prevent negative effects on your body.

Just like cholesterol, BMI and blood pressure, your AGE level is also a medical marker that is important because it can impact how long and how well you live.

More expert advice about Nutrition

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Pat BairdRegistered Dietitian and a member of the A.G.E. Foundation Advisory Board

Along with her position on the A.G.E. Foundation Advisory Board, Ms. Baird is an award-winning author, media spokesperson, and specialist in the development and communication of information on nutrition and health issues for consumers and health...

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