ORAC value is the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity of food.
ORAC provides us with a method of measuring the overall antioxidant power (activity) of different foods and supplements and give it a number.
Why are antioxidants important? Antioxidants decrease and repair the number of free radicals (damaged cells) in our bodies which help to decrease the damage they cause to our skin, bones and organs.
This method of measurement was developed by the scientists at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, Maryland.
They developed the ORAC method and the US Department of Agriculture and Brunswick Labs have been instrumental in perfecting the ORAC assay procedure and testing various foods to determine these ORAC levels.
The higher the ORAC number, the stronger the antioxidant properties of the substance. The USDA recommends we consume 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units daily.
In truth, 80% of the population is consuming less than 1,000 ORAC units a day. The USDA recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. This will give you an ORAC score of about 1,750 units.
See ORAC charts below.
How can Antioxidants Benefit Us?
Antioxidants are essential for optimal health, especially with respect to aging and age-related diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and many others.
Scientific research shows that antioxidants increase our resistance to diseases and boost our immune systems. Hence the recommendation of 5-9 servings of
fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables have high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity values.
Dark chocolate is included due to raw cacao is considered a fruit. Unprocessed cacao is loaded with antioxidants.
Antioxidants are any substance that reduce or prevent oxidative damage/stress, such as vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and polyphenols that help protect your body's cells against the harmful effects of free radicals in the bloodstream.
Free radicals are molecules (oxidants) produced when your body breaks down food, or by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke, radiation, and stress.
Free radicals tend to move very quickly to try to steal an electron from whatever molecule happens to be around them. Of course, whoever they steal an electron from becomes a new free radical and then the process dominoes over and over throughout your body.
They are not evil or bad,...in moderation. There will always be some free radicals created; however, if the level of free radicals gets too high in the body, major problems begin to occur.
Numerous diseases and health issues have been linked to high levels of free radicals.
So, how do you turn a free radical into a harmless cell?
Eat more fresh, antioxidant foods.
Free radicals cause oxidation. Antioxidants prevent oxidation. Antioxidants work by donating an electron to a free radical so it once again, becomes a stable oxygen molecule.
HIGHEST ORAC VALUE FOODS:
ORAC VALUES OF FRUITS & VEGETABLES
Red Bell Pepper
Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional.