When food is tested for its ORAC value, what does that mean?
ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity and it is a measure of a food’s antioxidant power. Antioxidants are the natural chemicals in food that have a direct anti-aging and anti-disease effect.
They work by blocking the destructive effects of the molecules produced inside our cells called free radicals. Foods that are higher in antioxidants (i.e food with high ORAC values) will have overall better health benefits than foods lower in antioxidants.
Here are some common ORAC values for the fruits and vegetables we should be eating everyday. A serving of cucumber has an ORAC value of 250. A serving of tomatoes or carrots 400. A serving of broccoli 500. A serving of pineapple 600. A serving of green beans 750. A serving of bananas 800. A good average, therefore, for the fruits and veggies we eat (or should eat) in our everyday diet is 500 per serving.
There are many juice products available that use an ORAC value to measure their antioxidant power, are they a good substitute for a healthy diet? Absolutely not! Eating healthy has many benefits that extend beyond antioxidants, but if like most of us, you are on the run and can’t always eat as healthy as you would like, then supplement your diet with products that provide a high ORAC value to provide your body with the same nutritional benefits that eating lots of fruits and vegetables can.