Slow ageing - Top food tips

'Free radicals cause ageing' - But what is a 'free radical'

Free radicals are formed in the body from exposure to environmental toxins, these are formed through radiation, cigarette smoke, excessive sunlight exposure and metabolic processes in the body, such as the breakdown of foods. Overuse of muscles also causes damage where free radicals can be formed.
Free radicals are highly reactive atoms that have one unpaired electron. Unpaired electrons tend to pair up, becoming unstable - the free radicals react very quickly and scavenge from cells and nutrients in the body, causing damage to cells and DNA.

What is the effect of free radicals damage  

The risks of most degenerative diseases such as cancers, heart and arterial diseases, dementia, arthritis etc. can be increased by a high level of free radicals. Ageing in all its forms is hastened by high free radicals in the body. Sagging skin, age spots and discolouration of the skin are all increased by high free radicals.

Top food tips to reduce free radicals

Eat plenty of foods with a high ORAC score (oxygen radical absorption capacity) or foods with high antioxidant potential.

Fresh naturally deep coloured vegetables and fruit are very rich in antioxidants, including:

  • blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
  • carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, kale and red cabbage
  • turmeric, cinnamon, oregano, parsley.

It is recommended we consume a value of 6,000 ORACs daily – each of the following has a score of approximately 2,000 ORACs.

  • 1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano or turmeric
  • 30gms blueberries
  • 60gms blackberries, strawberries or raspberries
  • 35gms red cabbage or 200gms of broccoli
  • four pieces of min 85% dark chocolate.

Aim to follow a low GL eating plan: fresh fruit and vegetables, try to cut out refined sugars, processed foods and burnt or charred foods.

Foods with a low GL score do not cause blood sugar peaks but allow the blood sugar to remain stable. This reduces the free radicals and reduces the risk of skin ageing, developing diabetes, heart and arterial disease, dementia, neurological diseases, cancers and others.

For more information on following a low GL eating plan for health and weight loss or specialised help with nutrition for health issues, contact a nutritional therapist.

Nutritionist Resource is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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