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(BPT) - When it comes to health by the numbers, you probably already know to keep an eye on your cholesterol level, body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure. But are you aware of another medical marker that directly impacts these others? Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs) are markers for the aging of our internal organs, tissues and body systems. Research shows that AGEs are linked to nearly every chronic disease we face today, such as obesity, kidney, heart and eye disease, and dementia.
"While cholesterol, body mass index and blood pressure are familiar and relevant health indicators, AGEs are the critical fourth medical marker that everyone should know," says Pat Baird, registered dietitian and A.G.E. Foundation board member. "AGEs impact how long and how well you live as they age your body from the inside out."
AGEs develop naturally in our body and can be ingested through certain foods, including browned, sugary and processed foods. When people consume too many of these foods, higher than normal levels of AGEs build up in the body's tissues and accelerate the aging process internally.
You can lower AGEs in your diet by avoiding charred and blackened foods, extending cooking time and incorporating more water (e.g., steaming, poaching, boiling) and acidic marinades (e.g., lemon or lime-based) into your food preparation, according to the A.G.E. Foundation. Choosing colorful foods that include healthy iridoids, like noni, blueberries, olives and cranberries as well as consuming the supplemental beverage TruAge Max, can effectively lower AGEs. Additionally, receiving a full eight hours of sleep allows the body to fight AGE accumulation and managing physical and emotional stress curbs the production of AGEs.
"Being aware of these four critical medical markers - cholesterol, body mass index, blood pressure and AGEs - can be the first step to a better and healthier life," says Baird. "Simple lifestyle changes like exercising for 30 minutes a day, eating a healthy diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, quitting smoking and regularly monitoring your health can help to lower or maintain the level of AGEs in your body and reduce your risk for chronic diseases."