The study of temporal and geographical variation in disease prevalence in association with differences in environment, diet, and lifestyle helps identify possible factors that may modulate the risk of disease within and across populations. As such, observational epidemiology is a powerful, albeit blunt, tool that serves to inform and guide experimental studies and intervention trials. In the case of dietary antioxidants and chronic age-related disease, there is a logical biochemical rationale for the protective effect of antioxidants, and there is strong, and consistent observational evidence supportive of this. The way in which dietary antioxidants are believed to act is described in a separate chapter. In this chapter, observational evidence relating to dietary antioxidants and the risk of disease states is discussed.

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