Eric Bakker N.D.October 9, 2022

The higher the ORAC value, the more powerful an antioxidant or food's antioxidant capacity. Some of our most colourful fruits and vegetables have the highest ORAC ratings.


ORAC – Once The New Standard For Antioxidant Evaluation

ORAC is short for “Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity”, and is a test tube analysis that measures the total antioxidant power of foods and other chemical substances. Scientists at the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) developed ORAC.

Scientists discovered that a small group of “super foods” have up to twenty times the antioxidant power of other foods. In studies with animals that were fed high-ORAC, foods had lower biological ages as measured by memory, balance, and capillary strength.

In 2012, the USDA closed its database on ORAC values, which essentially stopped people from making valid claims based on the science of the time. (Schultz 2017)

This action was taken in 2012 due to “evidence that the values indicating antioxidant capacity have little relevance to the effects of specific bioactive compounds, including polyphenols, on human health”. ORAC values have basically been over-used , but it doesn’t mean that the term has become irrelevant.

Articles Of Interest

High ORAC Foods Protect Against Oxidative Stress

Oxygen free radicals are chemicals that occur naturally in the body by oxidation. Just basic daily activities such as digestion, and movement such as walking or exercise is enough to produce oxygen free radicals. Exposure to rancid food, polluted air, sunlight and electricity and also from cell phone or microwave use will also induce oxygen free radicals. Foods or supplements with a high ORAC score may protect your cells from oxidative stress.

The ORAC antioxidant food rating cannot be measured easily, and it is the combination and the totality of the beneficial nutrients such as flavonoids and polyphenols which give the total score. You find that various types of fruits and vegetables have different ORAC. Vegetables  can be easily added to your diet.

I recommend that you eat five portions of fruit and vegetables, and if you do, your average ORAC score will be about 1,750 – 2,000 ORAC units. If you are vigilant and eat those fruits and vegetables with a high ORAC score, you can do so much better, even up to 5,000 units per day, the optimal amount indeed. It may surprise you to hear that many berries have a very high ORAC score.

Studies have shown that eating foods with the highest ORAC rating can increase the amount of antioxidants in the blood by about 10% – 25%. According to experts, the result of consuming about 5000 ORAC units per day from fruits and vegetables will have a significant beneficial effect on the blood and tissue anti-oxidants.

High ORAC Foods Are The Anti-Ageing Foods

Early findings suggest that eating plenty of high-ORAC list fruits and vegetables…such as spinach and blueberries may help slow the processes associated with ageing in both your body and brain. So take note, it might just be possible to reduce the risk of diseases and ageing, including senility simply by adding high-ORAC rated foods.

Many studies have shown foods that score high in the ORAC table may protect your cells and their components from oxidative damage. My recommendations are that you should eat foods containing at least 3,000 ORAC units a day, which is easy, since 1/2 cup of blueberries contain 2,400 units. Look at the list below and eat the ones you like, and just a few prunes or raisins every day combined with some of the other highest ORAC rated foods and you are easy on your way to over 3,000. And as noted in the table below, four fruits are at the top of the list.

Learning how to use and apply the information in an ORAC Rating Table is a powerful tool in slowing down the ageing process and protecting yourself from degenerative diseases.

5 Points Regarding ORAC Rating

  1. Fruits typically have greater ORAC values than vegetables.  If you used 900 as a cutoff value to reduce your number of servings to achieve the recommended 3000 ORAC units, the fruit side has 10 different possibilities while the vegetable side only has 5.
  2. The Açai berry from South America has been regarded as the number one super food.  As you can see by its ORAC value, it is 3 times greater than the nearest fruit (prunes) and 10 times greater than the nearest vegetable (kale).  This means that a small concentrated amount of açai will go a long way in fighting free radical damage.
  3. The deeper the pigment of the fruit or vegetable, the higher will be its ORAC rating.
  4. Increasing your consumption of the high ORAC-value fruits and vegetables will allow you to reduce the number of servings you will need to protect yourself from free radical damage.  For example, if I wanted to get 3,000 ORAC units into my body, I would need to eat 14 apples versus a little more than a half of a cup of blueberries or 1 cup of strawberries to obtain the same ORAC value.
  5. Pine Bark Extract has one of the highest rating of any antioxidant known, with a rating of almost 2,500 units per dietary supplemen capsule.

It makes sense to learn about the ORAC rating. That way, you can effectively reduce the number of servings of fruits and vegetables per day and just pick the most nutrient dense varieties. This will ensure that you will substantially increase the number of antioxidants and other protective factors in your diet, which provides greater protection from free radical damage; considered by many to be one of the leading causes of ageing and degenerative diseases.

ORAC Eating

Now that you know the ORAC rating of many healthy fruits and vegetables, you can combine them in various proportions and combinations to suit your taste. Here is an ORAC Salad recipe, it supplies over 4,000 ORAC units and tastes delicious. You can also make an ORAC smoothie and other nutrient-dense foods and drinks.



Join the Conversation...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Confirm you are NOT a spammer