Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC)

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: Antioxidant Blends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The method for measuring the antioxidant capacity of various foods is called ORAC which is the acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity.  ORAC was developed by scientists in the NIH, specifically in the National Institute on Aging division (but the method is not approved by the NIH).

A wide variety of foods had been test for their ORAC values in the past, but the following chart is more current and reflects the 2007 results.  The importance of a food’s high ORAC value is that it indicates a food’s antioxidant value, and a high value is believed to be correlated in the Free-radical theory of aging. 

This more current list from 2007 was compiled by scientists within the United States Dept. of Agriculture and includes ORAC values for 277 foods commonly consumed in the USA (grains, seeds, nuts, spices, vegetables, fruits, etc.).  It’s also considered to be more accurate than the previously published ORAC numbers because it shows that all plants have variable amounts of both hydrophilic (water-loving) phytochemicals and lipophilic (fat-loving) phytochemicals that contribute to total ORAC. 

USDA data on foods with high levels of antioxidant phytochemicals

Food

Serving size

Antioxidant capacity per serving size[6]

Cinnamon, ground

100 grams

267,536

Aronia black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)

100 grams

16062

Small Red Bean

½ cup dried beans

13727

Wild blueberry

1 cup

13427

Red kidney bean

½ cup dried beans

13259

Pinto bean

½ cup

11864

Blueberry

1 cup (cultivated berries)

9019

Cranberry

1 cup (whole berries)

8983

Artichoke hearts

1 cup, cooked

7904

Blackberry

1 cup (cultivated berries)

7701

Prune

½ cup

7291

Raspberry

1 cup

6058

Strawberry

1 cup

5938

Red Delicious apple

1 apple

5900

Granny Smith apple

1 apple

5381

Pecan

oz

5095

Sweet cherry

1 cup

4873

Black plum

1 plum

4844

Russet potato

1, cooked

4649

Black bean

½ cup dried beans

4181

Plum

1 plum

4118

Gala apple

1 apple

3903

 

 

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How Do Birds and Berries Depend On Each Other?

Posted on June 4, 2008. Filed under: Antioxidant Blends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

blueberry

 

For their cycle of life.  Birds eat the yummy berry fruits – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and more – then fly hither and yon spreading the berry seeds.  The berry seeds have more places to grow and spread, and the cycle repeats.  Phytonutrients are the phytochemicals that give berries their attractive and lively colors.  These highly visible colors attract the seed-distributing birds that feast on the fruit and spread the wealth.

 

Berries, in general, contain vitamins (Vitamins C & E are common), minerals (Manganese and Niacin, too), and fiber (4-9 grams per cup) plus a burst of succulent flavor in every bite.  These fun-to-eat foods may help prevent heart disease and cancer, boost the immune system, have antiviral and antibacterial properties, and slow the aging process.  These healthful benefits are due to the concentration of phytonutrients which have an antioxidant effect (kind of like anti-rust).  Besides the deeply colored berries, strongly colored vegetables, nuts, flax seeds, tea and dark chocolate also tend to be high in the healthful phytochemicals. 

 

Would you rather get your daily dose of phytonutrients and antioxidants from your cup of tea, carrots and broccoli, dark chocolate, or brightly colored berries?

 

“Mac”

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