ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It is a measure of the antioxidant capacity of food or other organic substances.
How the measurement is done
A comparison is made between two mixtures.
The first mixture is a substance (fluorescein) combined with a free radical (peroxyl radical). The oxidation of the fluorescein is checked every minute for several minutes after the two are combined. From this, the rate of oxidation is known.
The second mixture is the same as the first but with the addition of an antioxidant substance to be measured. The oxidation of the fluorescein is then checked at the same frequency as the first mixture.
Different results from different antioxidants are observed. The introduction of an antioxidant substance significantly slows the oxidation of the fluorescein.
A list of top scoring ORAC units of fruits and vegetables can be found here.
How much daily ORAC units do we need?
Experts suggest that we ingest at least 5,000 ORAC units in a day to have a significant effect on our body's antioxidant levels. This amount could raise your antioxidant levels by 10% to 25%. To achieve this level, you need to eat 8 to 10 servings of different fruits and vegetables.
Can antioxidant pills achieve the same results?
Fruits and vegetables does not only contain antioxidants but a mix of many different nutrients. Go for fruits and vegetables if you can. Only take antioxidant pills if your daily schedule prohibits you from eating that much fruits and vegetables.
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