Opinion article* published in The Conversation written by By Emma Beckett, University of Newcastle and Mark Lucock, University of Newcastle.

Antioxidants are a commonly promoted feature of health foods and supplements. They’re portrayed as the good forces that fight free radicals – nasty molecules causing damage thought to hasten ageing and cause chronic diseases.

The simple logic that antioxidants are “good” and free radicals are “bad”, has led to the idea that simply getting more antioxidants into our bodies, from foods or supplements, can outweigh the impacts of free radicals.

Sadly, biology is never this simple, and antioxidants are not a free radical free pass.

We are exposed to free radicals every day; they’re produced in our bodies as part of normal functioning. Such normal levels are easily tolerated.

But habits such as smoking, drinking, and eating processed foods all increase exposure. These additional free radicals may increase the risk of lifestyle and age-related diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

READ the full article in The Conversation.

* Opinions represent the author’s views.