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» Learning the Orac Scale

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The cellular damage that can be done by free radicals is receiving a vast amount of attention with regard to our overall health and wellness and our food intake, particularly recently.
The damage that can be done by oxidation which is directly caused by free radical activity has been linked to nearly every aspect of aging as well as certain types of cancer and heart diseases.

Concern for our own health related issues has motivated some of us to take a hard look at the ORAC Scale that can help you to determine the best foods for lowering your risk of those diseases and increasing the positive effects of your food intake.

The up side of the oxidation issue is that there is a remedy and its not a super expensive one that only the most wealthy among us can afford to commit to.

Antioxidants afford some very powerful and extremely effective tools in your bodies’ fight to protect itself against the ravages that oxidation can cause.

Tufts University Researchers, in an effort to find a way to measure the antioxidant capacity of certain foods have developed a means to measure the capacity of foods to absorb the radicals.

The test is known as the ORAC scale, and is in fact a reasonably accurate measurement of the ability of the foods to provide for radical uptake.

There is of course a catch, as there always is.
Sometimes measurements of any kind can be misleading and the ORAC Scale numbers are no different than any other type of scale. They are only good so long as you read them carefully and know exactly what they mean.

When you view something such as Coriander and your mind says.. AHA.. read a bit further into the research.

The level of antioxidation , or to use the more correct terminology, Ferric reducing power, you will need to place it firmly in your mind that different densities of food will weigh differing amounts and that the scale is based on the intake, or amount, of100 gram servings..

Therefore – When you see the clove oil, or coriander values, your heart leaps and you say, all I’ve got to do is eat just a bit of clove oil or coriander and I’m home free. No, you aren’t. Using for example nutmeg, which, when ground has a density of 0.4733 grams/milliliter

That makes it roughly 7 grams/tablespoon or 2 grams/teaspoon.

10 grams would be 5 teaspoons, therefore 100 grams would be about twenty five teaspoons of nutmeg that you have to eat to get the ferric reducing power numbers that you see on the charts.

A food with a lower value, will probably be more dense, weigh more and give you a far better method of consuming that amount of ferric reducing power.

While essential oils are among the most common and high powered sources of antioxidants, they will require a bit more to be of the values that you need.

Fruits, such as raspberries will give you roughly the same effect for a lot less intake of raspberries.
Common sense is in order here.

TOP ORAC Fruits and Vegetables, per 100 gram serving
Goji Berry (Lycium Barbarum) 25,300
Kale 1,770
Prunes 5,770
Garlic clove 1,662
Pomegranates 3,307
Spinach 1,260
Raisins 2,830
Yellow Squash 1,150
Blueberries 2,400
Brussels sprouts 980
Blackberries 2,036
Alfalfa sprouts 930
Cranberries 1,750
Steamed Spinach 909
Strawberries 1,540
Broccoli Flowers 890
Raspberries 1,220
Beets 840
Plums 949
Avocado 782
Oranges 750
Red bell pepper 710
Grapes, Red 739
Beans, Baked 503
Cherries 670
Beans, Kidney 460

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