The ORAC Scale, Antioxidants and the Acai Berry

The acai berry has been hailed as one of the world’s healthiest foods. It is loaded with antioxidants, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. This little berry has one of the highest ORAC levels of any singular food on the planet.

The ORAC or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity measures the antioxidant capacity of a food or substance. What it actually measures is the capacity to subdue oxygen free radicals in a test tube. It then assigns it a number, the higher the number the stronger the antioxidant capacity of the substance.

Early scientific finding suggest that eating foods that have a high-ORAC level may help to slow the typical decline of aging in both the body and the brain. Research will continue but all of the findings so far suggest that eating foods high on the ORAC scale may reduce the risks of disease, senility and dementia typically associated with aging.

The USDA has long recommended “5-a- day” for the consumption of fruits and vegetables. If you consume the 5 servings each day it will typically give you an ORAC scale of about 1750 units. At this time it is estimated that 80% of the population is only receiving about 1000 ORAC units per day.

However, in order to achieve the maximum benefit the USDA recommends between 3000 and 5000 ORAC units per day. This can be achieved by increasing your fruit and vegetable intake or by taking quality supplements. However, you must choose the supplements that actually provide the highest ORAC units and that may be best accomplished by using juices or extracts from the actual foods.

Vegetables, fruits and surprisingly many spices have the highest ORAC levels. The freeze-dried acai berry has the highest ORAC level of any actual food at 161,400. The only substances that exceed it are spices such as ground cloves at 314,446, ground cinnamon at 267,536, and dried oregano at 200,129. Sumac and Sorghum are also higher on the ORAC scale.

In order to maintain the superior antioxidant capacity of the acai berry it must be freeze-dried. This berry is extremely perishable and it must be processed within 24 hours of leaving the tree or else the natural nutrients start to degrade. Freeze-drying has proven to be the most effective way to maintain the natural nutrients. Spray-dried acai berry has a much lower ORAC score.

The best way to get the highest ORAC score in your diet is to consume a variety or fruits and vegetables and include some high-quality supplements. High quality acai berry supplements can be a great addition to your health-promoting diet plan.

Karen Lynch is a freelance writer and work-at-home-Mom who recently found great success with weight loss by using the acai berry diet found at http://www.acaiwow.com along with exercise

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