In May of 2010, the USDA analyzed all major food groups and analyzed their anti-oxidant valueand yesdark chocolate and berries were right on top!!
Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) is the current standard for testing and measuring the antioxidant properties of various foods. The ORAC value measures the capacity of a substance to fight the effects of free radicals, which cause oxidation and lead to the damage of cells.
Scientists have found a link between various chronic and degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Parkinsons disease, Alzheimers disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and the actual aging process itself, to damage by free radicals. According to the USDA, antioxidants in the diet may have a role in reducing oxidative stress and thus reduce the risk of these diseases.
Free radicals are molecules that are missing one or more electrons and therefore look to other molecules to balance their charge by taking their electrons. The molecules that they attack for electrons include molecules making up the DNA in the bodys cells, the foundation for our production of new cells. It also includes molecules which make up the mitochondria in your cells. The mitochondria create energy to sustain the cells.
Cells with damaged mitochondria are weak, have lower energy, and are less resistant to disease. When the DNA of a cell is damaged by the action of free radicals, the result is the creation of imperfect or malignant new cells. These cells may even form tumors and cancers.
The USDA website recommends a daily antioxidant intake range of 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity). Recent studies have suggested that more active lifestyles require higher levels of antioxidants.
There are a number of foods that are high in ORAC value, therefore high antioxidant value, including dark chocolate, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts. Brightly colored foods are good indicators of high ORAC Value. Vitamins A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E have been shown to have strong anti-oxidant value. Numerous supplements also exist in the market also claiming to enhance the antioxidant levels in your body.
In sum, a diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and nuts is an excellent source of anti-oxidants and yes, dark chocolate is considered to be an excellent source of antioxidants. So enjoy your dark chocolate, but as with anythingwith proper moderation!!
Ageless and Fit is the brainchild of Harvard educated attorney and Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Pons. As an owner of a dialysis facility servicing chronic dialysis patients, Liz became acutely aware of the serious effects which diet, nutrition, and general living habits have on our health and our aging process. Liz is here to share her knowledge, information, and experiences with you, and invites you to share yours with her and our community. Join her in helping each of us to reach our healthy, happy, and ageless destinies.