Antioxidants for longevity


carrot and beetrootWe all want to live longer lives, which is why it is important to be aware of factors that can contribute to the aging process. Molecules called free radicals are created due to factors such as air pollution, radiation (including UV rays from sun), smoking, illness and chronic stress. When formation of free radicals exceeds the level of antioxidants in the body, oxidative damage can accumulate causing chronic disease and aging1. The following disease states are all affected by free radical mediated oxidative stress:


Cardiovascular disease

Atherosclerosis occurs due to an interaction between proinflammatory, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidative defense mechanisms. ROS cause oxidation of low density lipoprotein, which leads to cell death and vasoconstriction1.


The brain uses a large proportion of oxygen, has a limited antioxidant defence system and consists of readily peroxidizable lipids, making it highly susceptible to oxidative stress by ROS1.


The occurrence of cancer is defined by three stages: initiation, promotion and progression. ROS can play a significant role in all three of these stages of carcinogenesis, as any damage to DNA can cause mutations in genes1.


Glucose auto oxidation in hyperglycemia can cause oxidative stress. Furthermore, increased leptin and free fatty acids are associated with increased ROS in diabetes1.


The good news is that damage from free radicals can be offset by sufficient amounts of antioxidants1. Antioxidants are well known for their ability to neutralise free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Vitamins A, C and E, carotenoids and flavonoids are all powerful antioxidant sources found predominantly in brightly coloured fruits and vegetables. For a delicious snack try super berries such as goji berries or golden berries – both abundant sources of antioxidants. What’s not to love about foods that keep us healthy and allow us to enjoy longer, happier lives!




  1. Rahman, K 2007, ‘Studies on free radicals, antioxidants and co-factors’, Clinical Interventions in Aging, vol.2, no.2, pp.219-236


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