ORAC – 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. It was developed by scientists at the USDA (United States Department Of Agriculture).
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.
High ORAC Foods Protect Against Oxidative Stress
Oxygen free radicals are chemicals that occur naturally in the body by way of 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 easily measured, and it is the combination as well as the totality of the beneficial nutrients such as flavonoids and polyphenols which give the total score. You will find that various types of fruits and vegetables have different ORAC. It is recommended 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 particularly high ORAC score, you can do so much better, even up to 5,000 units per day, the optimal amount indeed. You may be surprised to hear that many different 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 aging 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 not difficult, 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 easily 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 contained in an ORAC Rating Table is a powerful tool in slowing down the aging process and protecting yourself from degenerative diseases.
5 Important Points Regarding ORAC Rating
- Fruits typically have greater ORAC values than vegetables. If you used 900 as a cut off 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.
- 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.
- The deeper the pigment of the fruit or vegetable, the higher will be its ORAC rating.
- 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 cup of blueberries or 1 cup of strawberries to obtain the same ORAC value.
- Pine Bark Extract has one of the highest rating of any antioxidant known, with a rating of almost 2,500 units per 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 aging and degenerative diseases.
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.
The ORAC Rating Table
FOOD ORAC LIST SCORE (per 100 gr./approx. 3.5 ounces)
|Pomegranates||1,245||Red Bell Pepper||713|
|White Grapes||442||Sweet Potatoes||301|