Healthy Skin Challenge: Day 25

Day 25 – AGE’s: the connection between sugar and skin aging

Collagen loss is a main contributor to aging in our skin.   When we make less collagen than is broken down, skin that was once firm and smooth begins to be lax, dry and wrinkled. While external factors such as sun exposure can accelerate extrinsic skin aging, scientific evidence points to another culprit: glucose- (sugar) driven intrinsic aging. 

You can relate this to cooking by looking at the browning reaction that occurs when you cook meat at high heat.  The same sort of process is taking place at a slower rate with our long-lived tissue proteins, like collagen in our bodies. When the proteins in meat are exposed to heat and carbohydrates in the absence of moisture, they cause it to turn brown in a chemical process called the Maillard reaction. Similarly, in the human body, once sugars enter the circulation they attach themselves to the amino groups of tissue proteins, like collagen to slowly rearrange their strong structure into the primary culprits of aging damage, called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGE molecules are particularly destructive since they can undergo extensive cross-linking with other proteins to form strong chemical bridges. As a result, healthy collagen fibers lose their elasticity and break down causing wrinkles and sagging skin.

The challenge for today is to reduce your AGEs by following the guidelines below:

Avoid or Limit Foods High in AGEs

  • Sugary items such as candy, cookies, cakes, soda, and pastries
  • Processed foods, including packaged meats and cheese
  • High-fat (especially red) meats
  • Fats, including butter, margarine, and oil
  • Fried foods

Eat Plenty of Foods Low in AGEs, especially in combination with high AGE foods

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Seafood
  • Vegetarian burgers

Opt for these Cooking Methods

  • Slow cooker
  • Cook foods in water through boiling, steaming, or poaching
  • Marinate foods in acidic or citrus-based sauces

This Mediterranean Poached Fish has seafood and vegetables which are foods low in AGEs and calls for the food to be poached. Share with us how you participated in today’s challenge with the #healthyskinchallenge!


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