Hi I’m Tim Feeser with Peak50 Fitness encouraging you to get healthy to stay wealthy.
Well today I’d like to talk about a concept referred to as the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, also referred to as ORAC for short. ORAC is a ranking of foods and spices based on a process that has been used by scientists at the United States Department of Agriculture also known as the USDA, to measure the total antioxidant capacity of foods and spices.
The total antioxidant capacity of a food or spice measures its power to protect molecular destruction by free radicals. For more detailed explanations of this process you can click on the links below:
Essentially, several foods and spices were tested and ranked based on each of the food’s ability to protect against free radical destruction of molecules. According to information published by the National Cancer Institute, I quote as follows:
“The damage to cells caused by free radicals, especially the damage to DNA, MAY play a role in the development of cancer and other health conditions”
They go on to say that “antioxidants are chemicals that interact with and neutralize free radicals, thus preventing them from causing damage”.
Now in my nutrition DVDs, I go into more detail regarding some of the findings of the ORAC research, and why I include the ORAC information in my meal tables.
In the article, “Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention”, published on the National Cancer Institute’s website at www.cancer.gov, they summarize the 9 trial studies that have been performed to test the impact on cancer of dietary antioxidant supplements. The link to the specific article is identified below:
Essentially, none of these 9 trials demonstrated any evidence that dietary antioxidant supplements lead to successful cancer prevention. Moreover, they go on to say that one of the reasons may be as follows:
“It is possible that the lack of benefit in clinical studies can be explained by differences in the effects of the tested antioxidants when they are consumed as purified chemicals as opposed to when they are consumed in foods, which contain complex mixtures of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Therefore, acquiring a more complete understanding of the antioxidant content of individual foods, how the various antioxidants and other substances in foods interact with one another, and factors that influence the uptake and distribution of food-derived antioxidants in the body are active areas of ongoing cancer prevention research”.
It is that statement that caused me to create my version of nutrient value tables associated with my meal recipes published in my blogs on my site at www.peak50fitness.com, for which I show the ORAC values of the individual ingredients that are in each meal.
For example, one of my all time favorite meals is my turkey-based chili, with the nutrient chart shown here.
Notice the very high ORAC values for many of the ingredients in this meal. I’ll get into the details regarding the actual ORAC values in my other upcoming video and blog series on various food groups and their associated ORAC power.
While not yet proven, studies are ongoing to test the benefits of antioxidant consumption through foods and I do not want to miss out on those possible benefits if actually proven!
For this reason, I include the ORAC values in my meal tables as helps me track my ORAC intake.
I thank you for taking the time to read this blog and encourage you to check out and subscribe to my YouTube Channel Peak50 Fitness for ongoing fitness and nutrition tips. Also, download any or all of my free eBooks found here on this site covering nutrition and exercise strategy.