Here is why the older generations always preferred cooking on a low flame. Latest research shows that eating food cooked at high temperatures can increase a person's chances of developing Alzheimer's disease.
The amount of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), toxic compounds linked to Alzheimer's, are found to be higher when foods are cooked at high temperatures or stored for longer periods like in hard cheese.
AGEs, which are formed of sugars, proteins and many other large molecules, are known to increase inflammation, oxidative stress and risk of several chronic diseases.
These compounds, sometimes bind to the receptor for AGEs (RAGE) and help beta-amyloid proteins, the toxic proteins responsible for Alzheimer's disease to cross the blood-brain barrier.
The accumulation of beta-amyloid subsequently damages and kills brain cells, leading to memory problems.
As part of the study, researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York used different cooking methods to prepare 549 foods. Amount of the AGEs compounds were higher in foods cooked at high temperature like beef. The 707 kU AGEs in 100 grams of raw beef reached 6071 kU after roasting.
A closer examination of previous research showed that meat produced highest amount of AGEs through cooking, while eggs, legumes, milk, cereals and vegetables produced very less amounts of the compounds.
Experiments conducted on mice by the same researchers have shown that diets high in AGEs can contribute to Alzheimer's. The rodents fed on a diet high in AGEs similar to the Western diet showed decline in cognitive and motor abilities. These animals also had higher deposits of both AGEs and amyloid-β in their brains.
"The findings point to an easily achievable goal that could reduce the risk of dementia through the consumption of non-AGE-rich foods, for example, foods that are cooked or processed under lower heat levels and in the presence of more water, raising the importance of not just what we eat, but also how we prepare what we eat," Dr. Jaime Uribarri and Weijing Cai of The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said in a news release.
Findings of the study have been reported in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.