Is your BBQ ageing you Why that delicious char-grilled food could be giving you wrinkles
23:20 GMT, 2 July 2012
Chances are you’ll have at least one barbecue this summer despite the unpredictable weather.
But when you do, even if you limit your alcohol intake, slap on the SPF and get an early night, don’t be surprised if you look slightly more wrinkly than usual afterwards.
The culprit AGEs — Advanced Glycation End products — which can be found in barbecued food.
Potentially damaging compounds which, at high levels, can speed up ageing can be found in barbecued food
These are potentially damaging compounds
which, at high levels, can speed up ageing. ‘Advanced glycation is a
reaction between carbohydrates (sugars and starches) and proteins or
fats at high temperatures,’ says Dr Anastasia Kalea, of University
‘Animal-derived foods that are high in fat and protein are AGE-rich and most likely to form new AGEs when you cook them at high temperatures.’
Dry heat, such as grilling, frying and barbecuing, produces more AGEs than boiling or steaming.
For example, the AGE content of a piece of chicken doubles when you microwave it but almost quadruples when you grill it.
Essentially, the higher the temperature and the longer the cooking, the more AGEs there are, although they will start forming as soon as your food browns.
On average, a person eats more than 3,000 calories at a BBQ – a day and a half ’s worth of food for a woman
Research shows AGEs are absorbed into our bodies and when there’s too many of them, they can cause wrinkles and sagging skin because they damage collagen and elastin, which keep skin looking youthful.
So here are our top tips to make sure your food doesn’t make you look older . . .
MARINATE YOUR MEAT
Acidic solutions stop AGEs from developing, researchers found. In one test, beef marinated for an hour formed less than half the amount of AGEs during cooking than beef that wasn’t.
Try: Mix garlic, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, red wine vinegar and a little olive oil together and leave veg, meat or fish in the marinade overnight.
COOK FISH 'ENPAPILLOTE'
This means ‘in parchment’ and is a way of sealing the food in a little parcel with some liquid so it steams in its own juice.
Try: Put salmon, grated ginger, lime juice, a little white wine, olive oil, coriander, chopped red chillies and lemongrass sticks in a foil parcel and cook at about 220c (425f, gas 7) for around 15 minutes. You can also barbecue the parcels.
TURN DOWN THE HEAT
AGEs can cause wrinkles and sagging
Researchers found that scrambled eggs prepared over medium-low heat had about half the AGE content of eggs prepared over a high heat — and this applies to everything from frying to roasting.
Try: Place a leg of lamb in a lidded casserole dish, add sliced onions, garlic, chopped carrots a mug of white wine and a mug of stock. Slow cook at 120c for seven hours.
POACH, STEW OR STEAM
All these methods will produce a lower level of AGEs than grilling, roasting, frying or griddling. Poaching works well for chicken and pork, while stewing is a great option for beef and lamb — and you can use cheaper cuts, as they need to be cooked for longer than prime pieces of meat.
Try: Poaching pork steaks in milk with a handful of sage, some peppercorns, a couple of garlic cloves and the zest of a lemon. Bring all the ingredients to the boil, add the pork and simmer for about 15 minutes or until cooked.
ALWAYS ADD LIQUID
This keeps the AGE level down, as it lowers the temperature and encourages food to cook via steaming or poaching rather than direct, dry heat.
Try: Poach prawns or chicken in stock before adding them to a stir-fry so they won’t need to be in the pan for as long. Once your veg are in a hot wok, add a tablespoon of stock or water, cover with a lid and take the pan off the heat. This will steam the vegetables so they should be cooked but still have bite, then add in the chicken or prawns.
CUT SUGAR, ADD VEG
In his book Ageless Face, Ageless Mind, Dr Nicholas Perricone says the sugar from sugary foods or refined carbohydrates attaches to proteins in the body, resulting in the formation of AGEs.
Vegetables are rich in antioxidants that neutralise free radicals generated by AGEs, so eat lots of vegetables.
Try: Offset the AGEs of a chargrilled steak by serving it with an antioxidant-rich salad of spinach leaves, blanched tenderstem broccoli and beetroot, and a tomato salsa.