Slow Down Aging by Cooking with This Juice

Medically reviewed in June 2021

Whatever you put in your pan for dinner tonight, make sure you add a few squeezes of this: lemon juice.

A new study shows that marinating meats in lemon juice—or vinegar—can help greatly reduce the production of harmful compounds linked to aging and chronic disease.

Cooking compounds
All foods—but especially ones derived from animals—contain varying levels of compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These compounds are known to cause inflammation and may open the door to faster aging. Cooking—especially high-heat methods—increases formation of AGEs. But now new research suggests that marinating foods in an acidic, low-pH liquid—like lemon juice or vinegar—may help slow that formation down significantly. AGEs in beef were cut in half after marinating for an hour—but shorter amounts of time may help, too.

How AGEs age
Meats and full-fat cheeses contain the most AGEs, followed by pork, fish and eggs—although even fruit, vegetables and whole grains may contain small amounts. Marinating your food is one way to minimize AGEs. Another option: Cook over low, moist heat. Boiling, poaching, steaming and stewing are all great choices. (Learn more about AGE compounds—and why they're such a big health deal.)

Take the first steps to growing younger and healthier with the RealAge Test.

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