The benefits of eating raw foods are being well proven by science, however unlike those uber serious science journals, I feel the benefits are best described through a not so serious car analogy… let’s do this my friends…
Let me put you into 3 situations. First up, you’re sleepily filling your car pre-work commute and suddenly you wake up to find the colour of that petrol pump handle is a little different than usual… It’s not your fault, obviously you were sleep walking! Filling a petrol engine with diesel, or the other way around just ain’t getting you nowhere. It’s kinda like trying to eat rocks.
Next play – after our first sleep walking experience we’ve moved onto filling the car up only after-work hours. Sorted. Petrol pump into the petrol engine and we’ll be travelling from A-Z till our hearts content… well at least till our cars an old retiree. This is like switching rock cakes for real foods my friend.
But wait, there’s a third option. You know those higher priced, higher octane rated fuels that no-one other than car buffs ever use? Yup those ones, well fill up with one of those and you’ll win yourself a few more trips from A-Z before it’s time to consider the car equivalent of a nursing home. This is the benefit of eating raw foods, or even just eating less of the really ageing cooked ones…
Today I’m going to let you in on a few secrets that science has recently revealed… which foods are pretty darn ageing for our bodies, which ways of cooking them makes them even MORE ageing and which cheeky work around will turn the dial downwards on the ageing abilities of your diet. Let’s do this…
How Can Food Cause You to Age Faster?
Ever visited Asia and wondered just how everyone looks so darn young for their age? What is their secret ‘eh? Diet has a huge impact on how well your body and your skin ages.. The fuels we put into our bodies either condition them like oil would to a car, or corrode them like water would to an engine.
This is what the science says…
There are certain foods which cause our bodies to age faster. Ever had your phone battery spontaneously heat up and drain from 80% to 5, in just 10 minutes? This is similar my friend…
See, some foods contain ingredients scientists have nicknamed AGEs. What a well chosen name ‘eh *winks*! In long hand these ingredients are called advanced glycation end products, but don’t worry so much about the name. All you need to know is that when foods have a high percent of AGEs, they age your body, your skin and your health on super speed.
That means more wrinkles, age spots, skin sagging…. oh and some pretty serious health conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and kidney failure…
These well nicknamed ingredients have some reactive chemistry with your body. When eaten they work from the inside out to cause oxidation, which is just another way of saying they age you faster and inflammation, which is also very stressful and ageing for your skin.
So the bottom line is this… eat a diet low in AGEs and you protect your skin and body from premature signs of ageing. Which brings us onto the benefits of eating raw…
The Skin Benefits of Eating Raw
Did you know there’s only 1 proven way to guarantee you live longer? Assuming you’re not taking 007 worthy risks on a daily basis *winks*, restricting the amount of calories you eat per day is proven to extend lifespan. While that’s just dandy, it ain’t fun! Here’s the exciting part… It now looks like it’s not actually the calorie restriction itself that causes our bodies to live longer, it may actually be because by restricting food, people also restrict the amount of AGEs they eat… now that’s something we can happily play to!
There’s 2 main reasons why eating raw is better for your skin and your body…
- Animal meats are roller-coaster high in AGEs.
- When you cook things, more AGEs are made.
…by the way… this doesn’t mean you always have to eat raw, there’s some clever work arounds to ensure less AGEs are made when you cook and I’ll tell you all about those later.
Out of 549 foods that have been studied, these are the 10 with the highest amount of AGEs per serving size…
- Chicken skin, roasted then BBQ’d/Chicken skin roasted
- Bacon fried with no oil
- Broiled beef frankfurter
- Beef steak, pan fried with olive oil
- Beef stead, stir fried with canola oil
- Breaded & fried chicken breast
- Chicken selects (Mcdonalds)
- Turkey burger friend with cooking spray
- Chicken roasted, then BBQ’d
- McDonalds big mac
…and that my friend is a meat feast! Take a full look at the list of foods and their AGEs content here.
How Big are the Benefits of Eating Raw?
We know that the more AGEs we eat, the faster we age. Its like the difference between dropping toilet roll on the floor, or down the stairs while still holding onto the beginning piece, which I of course have absolutely never done *winks*.
So just how big are the benefits of eating raw? How many less AGEs do you consume when eating raw? Let’s take a look at some bumper pack sized differences…
- Fried beef steak (10, 058) vs. raw steak tartare (707) – over 14 times less!
- Roasted chestnut (9, 807) vs. raw chestnut (2, 723)
- Pan fried salmon (3, 083) vs. raw salmon (528)
Those are pretty big ‘eh! Eating anything raw, whether it’s meat, fish or nuts is better for you, better for your skin and better for your health.
In fact the best foods to eat, for having a low content of AGEs are…
- Raw vegetables like carrots, cucumber and celery
- White rice
- Starchy vegetables like sweet roast potatoes which even when cooked only has a count of 72!
- Fruits like banana and cantaloupe
- Milk (although it’s worth to say, if you suffer from acne, i’d recommend avoiding this one)
- Grains & legumes like kidney beans
- and out of all the meat lamb is the best (having only 1, 218 even when boiled)
Turbo-charge your diet with these food groups and you’ll be sipping on your very own version of youth elixir!
My friend, I also do not want you to feel guilty about eating foods high in AGEs because a little bit of everything is A-OK. Plus, there’s also ways to make it more than A-OK, there’s things you can do to ensure foods usually high in AGEs have less of them…
Instead of Eating Raw can you Reduce the amount of AGEs?
Yes, you absolutely can. All foods have a baseline amount of AGEs, but there’s one thing that multiplies them like hot cakes – heat. The more of it, the more AGEs you make. There’s a few changes you can make to the way you cook that’ll reduce the amount you end up eating;
- Switch high heat cooking methods like broiling or roasting for low heat methods like steaming or poaching.
- Marinate meat in something acidic like vinegar or lemon juice an hour/more before cooking.
- Use the microwave!
Let’s take some examples…
- If you pan fried a chick breast (4, 938) vs. if you poached a chicken breast (1, 101).
- If you pre-marinated beef in lemon juice or vinegar, you’d have over half fewer AGEs.
- If you cooked bacon in a frying pan (11, 905) vs. if you cooked bacon in the microwave (1, 173).
This my friend is like having your cake and eating it! Cook anything with less heat and it’ll be healthier, marinate meat in vinegar or lemon juice and it’ll be healthier, even let the microwave do the hard work for you and it’ll be healthier – now that is a win-win ‘eh.
Do you eat raw? Tell me some of your favourite skin healthy treats below…
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who is more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She is founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Learn more here at www.HonestyForYourSkin.co.uk/Skin-Coach