The findings from a recent study support the mounting evidence that the way we cook our food may play an important role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Learn more about why “slow and low” cooking may be best when it comes to brain health.
AGE Levels and Alzheimer’s Disease
Researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, recently published a study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease that concluded consuming foods cooked at high temperatures can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
When foods are cooked at a high temperature or stored for a long period of time, they have an increased level of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). This compound contains sugars, proteins and large molecules, is toxic, and has been linked to increased inflammation, oxidative stress and an increased risk of more than one chronic disease, including Alzheimer’s. AGEs are thought to help beta-amyloid proteins cross the blood-brain barrier when they bind to their receptor (RAGE). The accumulation of beta-amyloid proteins can damage and kill brain cells, causing memory problems and Alzheimer’s.
Researchers cooked 549 different foods in different ways and then measured the AGE levels in each food. They found that the foods who were cooked at a higher temperature had a higher AGE content. They also determined that mice who were given a diet high in AGEs had higher levels of beta-amyloid in their brains and experienced a decline in both cognitive and motor ability.
Avoiding AGEs in a Western Diet
Thankfully, with studies continuing to identify foods high in AGEs, we can decrease our risk of Alzheimer’s. According to researcher and doctors Jaime Uribarri and Weijing Cai of The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai:
“The findings point to an easily achievable goal that could reduce the risk of dementia through the consumption of non-AGE-rich foods, for example, foods that cooked or processed under lower heat levels and in the presence of more water, raising the importance of not just what we eat, but also how we prepare what we eat.”
Researchers found that foods highest in AGEs include:
- Vegetable oils
Foods lowest in AGEs include:
- Cereal and grains
- Starchy roots
What do you think of the relation between foods cooked at high temperatures and the development of Alzheimer’s? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.