Thursday, November 5, 2009

Stop Preparing Western Style Food to be Healthier

I was reading this abstract earlier and thought, well duh. When I reflected on it I realize as hard as I try I frequently fall back to western style meals when I am in hurry. What do I mean by western style vegan meals? Specifically foods that are roasted, grilled, or pan sautéed rather than the healthier options of poached, steamed and braised.

Cooking methods that are drier and higher heat encourage the development of advanced glycation end products (AGE’s). AGE’s are toxic in the body, can affect most cells in the body, and are a major factor in age-related chronic diseases. AGE’s are a big problem in diabetics and are thought to play a role in the vascular complications that they so often endure.

When foods are dry cooked the sugars in the food combine with protein to form AGE’s. Generally, the more brown the food the higher the level of AGE’s that are present. The same foods that are high in acrylamide also tend to be high in AGE’s. There are plenty of reasons to avoid browned foods.

I was most struck by the comment that AGE’s may be three times higher than the safe level of these oxidants. I was glad I read this abstract today since it reminds me to not fall back on the familiar cooking methods. I am going to try to focus on more soups and stews to reduce our development of AGE’s.

Now I am off to start mushroom stock for soup later today. I will be back later with a recipe or two.

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