AGE-Less With This Garden Fresh Tabbouleh

Need another reason to eat a plant-based diet? Plant foods are naturally low in toxic, age-accelerating AGEs.  Moreover, compounds in a variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices have been shown to inhibit AGE formation. For instance, a recent study found that parsley (Petroselinum crispum) exhibits potent antiglycation activity.

So gather up a big bunch of parsley along with some vine ripe tomatoes and cool cucumbers and whip up some Garden Fresh Tabbouleh – it’s the perfect complement to summer meals. For a gluten-free version, substitute quinoa for the bulgur wheat.

Garden Fresh Tabbouleh (From the AGE-Less Way)


Plant foods are naturally low in age-accelerating AGEs. Many plant foods also contain compounds that inhibit AGE formation.

Yield: 8 servings

  • 1 cup uncooked bulgur wheat
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped peeled and seeded cucumber
  • 1 cup (or more) packed finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint


  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Prepare the bulgur wheat according to package directions and let cool. Place the bulgur wheat, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, scallions, and mint in a large bowl.  Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and stir to mix. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to mix.  Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Nutritional Facts (per serving, about 7/8 cup)

Calories: 120, Carb: 17 g, Fiber: 4.4 g, Fat: 5.5 g, Sat. Fat: 0.8 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Protein: 3.1 g, Sodium: 157 mg, Calcium: 36 mg

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Carnitas Made the AGE-Less Way

If you have been following this blog, you know by now that the typical Western diet is loaded with toxic, age-accelerating Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs). We can markedly diminish our daily intake of AGEs simply by cooking differently (i.e. with moist heat). This is a main message behind The AGE-less Way that bears repeating.

Carnitas with Quinoa

Cooking with moist heat, as in braising, reduces AGE formation in meats.

Fortunately AGE-Less does not have to mean tasteless! Many flavorful ethnic foods are braised, stewed, steamed, and poached. For instance, these braised Pork Carnitas develop a deep, rich flavor by using beer as the braising liquid and by seasoning with plenty of herbs and spices.

Carnitas are a simple and very versatile dish. You can pull the braised meat into chunks and serve in soft corn tortillas with shredded lettuce, fresh tomato salsa, and avocado. Or serve over quinoa and garnish  with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro. Going low-carb? Serve the meat over a salad of shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, and avocado.

The beauty of the AGE-Less Way is that it can be applied to any diet philosophy. We are not asking you to follow a drastic low carbohydrate or low fat diet, but mostly to change the way you cook.

Pork Carnitas (from The AGE-Less Way book)

2 teaspoons crushed garlic

2 teaspoons dried oregano or 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 1/4 pound well-trimmed pork loin or sirloin roast

1 cup beer (light or regular)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Combine the garlic, oregano, cumin, pepper, and salt. Rub over all sides of the roast. Coat a 9-by-13-inch pan with cooking spray and lay the roast in the pan. Pour the beer around the roast.

Cover the pan with foil and bake for 2 1/2 hours or until the roast can be easily pulled apart with a fork. Remove from the oven and let sit, covered loosely with foil for 10 minutes.

Pull the meat into chunks and toss in some of the cooking liquid to moisten. Serve with warm corn tortillas, salsa, and avocado slices or spoon over brown rice or quinoa and sprinkle with some fresh chopped cilantro or fresh tomato salsa.

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Is Your High-Protein Diet AGE-ing You?

It used to be that “high-protein” diets were drastic meat, cheese, and fat laden regimens. But these days, there are many lighter, more moderate versions to choose from featuring leaner meats, lower-fat cheeses, and healthier fats and oils as well as more “good carbs”.  These healthier protein-enhanced diets are increasingly embraced as studies show that replacing some dietary carbohydrate with protein may aid weight loss, reduce blood sugar and blood pressure, improve triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels, and help prevent muscle loss. But you should also know about a downside to higher-protein diets, even the healthier versions — they may be packed with very high amounts of toxic, age-accelerating Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs).

HP Salad

Seafood and eggs are high-protein foods that tend to be lower in AGEs, especially when cooked with moist heat.

AGEs are created when dry heat is applied during cooking and processing, and impart color, flavor, and aroma to food (this is also known as the Maillard or browning reaction). AGEs cause inflammation and oxidation and are linked to aging, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and many other health problems. Although AGEs have been studied for decades, relatively few people are aware of them.

Meats and cheeses, the staples of many high-protein diets, tend to be the richest dietary sources of AGEs.  Fats, especially animal fats like cream cheese and butter, are also very AGE-rich. Therefore, most people on higher-protein diets are constantly ingesting a diet very high in AGE content.  The toxic effects of frequently ingested dietary AGEs may inadvertently contribute to health problems over the long-term.

AGE Table High Protein Foods

AGE Content of Selected Foods
Ref: J Am Diet Assoc; 110:911-916, 2010

Make Your Diet AGE-Less

You can markedly reduce AGE intake just by changing cooking techniques. Cook with moist heat (steaming, poaching, braising, or stewing) instead of dry heat (roasting, broiling, grilling, or frying).  This simple switch can diminish AGE intake without changing the actual composition of the diet (i.e. no changes in carbohydrates, fats, or proteins).  That said, plant foods including vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains are nutrient-rich and tend to be low in AGEs even after cooking so it is advantageous to include these in your AGE-Less diet as much as possible. Another tip to make your diet AGE-Less: Substitute olive oil for butter, as plant fats tend to form fewer AGEs than animal fats.

While people eating high-protein diets are almost certainly exposed to harmful levels of AGEs, just about everyone eats too many, since AGEs are widespread in the modern heat-processed diet. Any type of diet can be made AGE-Less. If we want to maximize the benefits of our food choices, it is essential to learn about AGE-Less eating.

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Why Soup is “AGE-Less” Food

Most people can dramatically reduce their intake of toxic, age-accelerating AGEs just by changing the way they cook.  The key is to use moist heat (as in poaching, steaming, stewing, and braising) instead of dry heat (as in roasting, frying, broiling, and grilling).  This makes soup an ideal food for AGE-Less eating.

AGEs in Chicken

Effect of Cooking Method on AGE Content of Chicken

Water is a potent inhibitor of AGE formation, so as meat simmers in a soup it forms far fewer AGEs than if the meat were baked or broiled, as exemplified in the table to the left, showing the AGE content of chicken cooked various ways. Soups also provide a tasty way to add nutrient-rich vegetables, beans, and whole grains to your diet — all of which are naturally low in AGEs

Home-style Chicken Soup (from The AGE-Less Way book)

Chix soup

Cooking meats with moist heat, as in a soup, is key to reducing dietary AGEs.

  • 1 1/4 cups diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 1/2 ounces whole grain penne or rotini pasta
  • 3/4 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Place the carrots, onion, celery, and chicken in a 2 1/2-quart pot. Add the water, bouillon, garlic, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove the chicken to a cutting board and set aside. Use a slotted spoon to transfer about half of vegetables to a blender. Add about 1 1/2 cups of the broth and carefully blend at low speed until smooth. Pour the mixture back into the pot.

Bring the soup to a boil and add the pasta. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is almost tender. Dice the chicken and add it to the soup along with the peas. Cover and simmer for about 3 minutes more, or until the pasta is tender. Sir in the parsley and remove from the heat. Let sit covered for 3 minutes before serving. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.

Nutritional Facts (per cup):

  • Calories: 114
  • Carbohydrates: 15 g
  • Fiber: 3.4 g
  • Fat: 0.8 g
  • Sat. Fat: 0.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 22 mg
  • Protein: 12 g
  • Sodium: 532 mg
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Alluring AGEs – the Tasty Toxins that Most People Never Heard of

Despite many great advances in nutrition science we are not getting any healthier. Aging-related diseases like obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and kidney disease persist as though something continues to elude us. Food components like trans fats, cholesterol, and sugar have all been implicated in certain diseases. But mounting evidence points to another issue that has not been addressed yet — the abundant presence of oxidants in food.  We have heard a lot about oxidants that cause the generation of free radicals in the body. Too many free radicals cause faster aging and disease. We now know that oxidants are everywhere around us – and are especially abundant in our food. Among the most important oxidants is a class of compounds called Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs), also known as glycotoxins.

Tasty Toxins  

AGEs are quite familiar to our senses. They are created when dry heat is applied during cooking and processing, and impart color, flavor, and aroma to food (this is also known as the Maillard or browning reaction). The golden-brown appearance on the surface of grilled, baked, and fried foods comes from AGEs, as does the crispy brown appearance of many snack foods.  Being that AGEs look, taste, and smell good, their use is widespread in modern foods, which makes it easy for us to overeat and for AGEs to build up to toxic levels in our tissues. That is when they cause trouble in the form of diabetes, as well as heart, brain, or kidney disease, dementia, and more. AGEs make us age before our time.

 Some Ways that AGEs Can Affect Us:

  • Act as oxidants, creating harmful free radicals
  • Chemically alter the ways that proteins, fats, and nucleic acids work
  • Increase inflammation (the body reacts to AGEs as if they were “foreign,” much like bacteria).
  • Increase insulin resistance and diabetes
  • Possibly build up abdominal fat
  • Increase “bad” cholesterol in the arteries
  • Build bridges between collagen proteins that harden arteries, stiffen joints, cause cataracts, and wrinkle skin

The AGE-Less Way 

Simple dietary strategies can help us dramatically reduce our intake of toxic, age-accelerating AGEs.  Learning which foods and food groups are lower in AGEs and applying moist-heat cooking methods such as steaming, stewing, braising, and poaching are central to the AGE-Less diet.  For example, instead of baking chicken, simmer it in a pot with broth, wine, and herbs. Rather than roasting meat, try braising with tomatoes and vegetables. As an alternative to broiled salmon, poach or cook en papillote with lemon and seasonings.

Cooking with moist heat reduces AGE formation.

Evidence for the AGE-Less Diet 

The AGE-Less Way has been studied extensively in both animals and humans. AGE restriction in mice has been found to improve immune function; ease inflammation; prevent weight gain, diabetes and its complications; and extend lifespan.  In humans, AGE restriction has been found to reduce markers of inflammation and disease.  For many people, reducing dietary AGEs by half is a reasonable goal. More details on these studies will be covered in future articles.

The key is to cut back. It is not necessary to totally eliminate all of your favorite foods.  If you love a certain grilled or roasted dish, enjoy it, but less often. Similarly, Thanksgiving comes only once a year so there is no reason to give up that perfectly browned turkey. The AGE-Less Way constitutes a new and exciting paradigm for disease prevention — how food is cooked and processed may be as important to health as the food itself.

Please note: The information presented here is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 
Always consult with your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding specific dietary instructions, medical concerns, or treatments. The inclusion of links to external web sites 
is not intended to endorse any views, products, or services offered
 by organizers, authors, or parties affiliated with the web site.

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Welcome to the AGE-Less Way Blog!

Welcome to The AGE-Less Way blog! This is an exciting time for anti-aging and health promotion initiatives. Mounting evidence points to hidden toxins in the modern diet, known as Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs), as mediators of premature aging, obesity, diabetes, and many other health problems.  Fortunately, there is much that we can do to reduce our exposure to toxic AGEs. This blog is dedicated to providing science-based information and updates on AGE research. It will also provide practical tips for reducing toxic AGEs in your diet — what we call the “AGE-Less” diet.

In the meantime, you can learn more about AGEs at The AGE-Less Way website or follow us on Facebook.

Please note: The information presented here is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 
Always consult with your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding specific dietary instructions, medical concerns, or treatments. The inclusion of links to external web sites 
is not intended to endorse any views, products, or services offered
 by organizers, authors, or parties affiliated with the web site.

Posted in Anti-aging, Health, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,