Saturday, December 29, 2007

ORAC Values of Acai Berry, Goji Berry, Pomegranate and Mangosteen

ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is a measure of how well antioxidants absorb free radicals. Superfruits such as the Acai berry, Goji Berry, Pomegranate and Mangosteen has quite high ORAC values. The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) ARS (Agricultural Research Service) in their 2007 ORAC values for selected foods has not provided data for these superfruits aside from pomegranate juice which scores 2,341.
To achieve optimum health, USDA recommends an intake of 5,000 ORAC units per day. Daily food consumption for an average person attains only about 20% to 30% of this recommendation. This means a lot more of foods with good ORAC scores like fruits and vegetables must be included in one's daily food intake.
Approximate ORAC scores taken other research institutions like Tufts University and manufacturers of superfruits has come up with the following data:
Superfruit- 1 gram ORAC Value
Acai Berry 3,800
Pomegranate 105
Goji Berry 253
Mangosteen >3,000
Although fruits high in ORAC value gives a lot of antioxidant benefit for the body, the combination of other nutrients and vitamins contained in these fruits raises the overall benefit it gives to our body.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Dr. Razavi's Good to Know Info: Fruit and Vegetable Juices and Alzheimer's Disease

Drink fruit and vegetable juices 3 or more times per week and reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer's disease.... more of this on the following article:

Dr. Razavi's Good to Know Info: Fruit and Vegetable Juices and Alzheimer's Disease

Solubility of Antioxidants

Not all antioxidants can scavenge free radicals located at diferent parts of the body. Free radicals that are formed in the fat or lipid sections of the body are handled by the fat soluble antioxidants. Those that are formed in the watery or aqueous sections of the body are handled by the water soluble antioxidants.

Groups of antioxidants in terms of solubility

  • Water soluble antioxidants

    These are the antioxidants which can be found or can penetrate in the cytoplasm of a cell (intracellular) as well as outside the cell (extracellular). The body cannot store water soluble antioxidants, unspent or excess of these are simply excreted from the body through the urine so a person cannot theoretically be overdosed Some examples of water soluble antioxidants are:

    • Vitamin C - A powerful antioxidant capability and immune system booster are only two of several benefits that the body can gain from this vitamin. It is unfortunate however that our body cannot manufacture its own vitamin C, unlike some animals like the rat. It must be ingested from food or through supplements. Studies have shown that aside from being a potent antioxidant, it also aids in the regeneration of oxidized glutathione (our body's internal antioxidant).
    • Glutathione - Our body's natural and potent antioxidant.
    • Catechins - Abundant in green tea.
    • Punicalagins - It can be found in pomegranate.
    • Xanthones - The major antioxidant component in mangosteen
    • Anthocyanins - The substance which gives color to fruits and vegetables. Acai berry has plenty of it.
  • Fat soluble antioxidants

    As the name suggests, it blends with the fat or lipid portions of the body. Excess or unspent amounts of these antioxidants are stored in the body's fat. High amounts stored in the body can become toxic. Some examples of fat soluble antioxidants are:

    • Vitamin E - A very effective antioxidant to scavenge free radicals in the fatty portions of the body. Protection against cancer: lungs, colon, breast, mouth are some of its strong properties. It can also remove toxins from the body like lead and mercury. Just like glutathione, vitamin C can help regenerate oxidized vitamine E. High concentrations of vitamin E can be found in soybeans, corn, cottonseed oil and wheat germ. Recommended amount is from 400 to 800 IU and lesser for persons with high blood pressure.
    • Vitamin A - Although less effective than vitamin E, it still is an important antioxidant. It also responsible for aiding our body in producing epithelial tissues which can be found mostly in the respiratory system and some in other parts of the body. Epithelial tissues are important to make our cells cancer resistant. Toxic levels for vitamin A is 10,000 IU. Cod liver oil, beef liver, chicken liver and sharks have high concentrations of vitamin A. Other sources of vitamin A are the carotenoids:
      • Lycopene - Abundant in tomatoes and watermelon.
      • Lutein and Zeaxanthin
      • Beta carotene

What antioxidant group should you take?

Both water and fat soluble antioxidants should be taken together to protect yourself from free radicals generated from fat or aquaeous portions of the body. When taken together - vitamin A, C, and E - their potency becomes higher and more effective.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Free Radicals are Both Beneficial and Harmful for the Body

Our body has some beneficial uses for free radicals. They are atoms or molecules which are highly reactive because of an unpaired electron. They tend to balance themselves by stealing electrons from nearby atoms or molecules. Once they are balanced, the atom or molecule whose atom was stolen now becomes a free radical and just like the 'stealer', it will balance itself...and it goes on and on until an antioxidant quenches or scavenges the free radical by donating an electron without becoming reactive. That's the property of an antioxidant, it can donate an electron and not become unstable. There are instances when our body intentionally produces free radicals.

How our body uses free radicals

Our body's response to foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses is to mark them as 'foreign' which is done by the antibodies and then have them terminated by killer cells(leukocytes). One way for the killer cells to kill the foreign invaders is to encapsulate them and produce free radicals to terminate its existence. The process is called respiratory burst or oxidative burst. Free radical chain reaction occurs inside the encapsulation which eventually kills the cells of the foreign invaders.

That's how free radicals can be harmful to cells, it can kill or damage cells. In the case above, the body benefits from free radicals by terminating the existence of harmful foreign invaders in our body. On the other side of the coin, it was harmful for the foreign invaders.

Antioxidant protection

The encapsulation for sure is also equipped with antioxidants to end the process because the encapsulation itself is composed of cells which are also subject to oxidative damage when the free radical chain reaction is left to do its thing. There are chances however that some free radicals can escape the encapsulation exposing other cells to probable oxidative damage. If there are antioxidants present outside the encapsulation, then there will be no problem.

Free radicals can really be beneficial for our body if it is intentionally produced by our body. If it was not intentionally generated to perform a specific task, then it would be harmful and antioxidants are needed to neutralize them. Free radical by products resulting from energy production in the mitochondria of our cells can also produce a chain reaction but if there are ample antioxidants nearby, the chain reaction would break before it can do damage to the cell.

We are constantly exposed to potential free radical chain reaction. Smoking, long exposure to sunlight, psychological or emotional stress, unhealthful eating habits are some free radical generators. If our body's supply of antioxidants fall short from the free radical generation, then its possible that it could do damage to our cells before the free radicals are 'quenched'.

Our body's supply of its own antioxidants like glutathione may not be adequate that's why eating fruits and vegetables could be very beneficial to us. It's not just the antioxidants contained in fruits and vegetables that our body can benefit, they are abundant in nutrients and vitamins that our bodies can surely utilize.

'Tis a holiday season and there are so much delicious food being served, some are good for the health and some may be not especially the sweets. Vegetables will likely be ignored in favor of those delicious looking preparations. Try to balance the quality of food you eat but don't overdo it. After all it's a holiday, a time for enjoyment! - there's always time to make up for it.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

How to Get More Antioxidants From Garlic

Garlic has substances that can benefit the body

Some of the properties of these substances are: anti-fungal, antibiotic, can treat athletes foot and nail fungus, enhances blood circulation and keeps the circulatory system in check, helps lower LDL(bad cholesterol), boost the immune system, antioxidant, relieves bronchitis, stops phlegm, an expectorant, soothes gastritis and dysentery, anti blood coagulation and a lot more.

The strength of health benefits it brings to your body depends on how you prepare and cook the garlic. If not prepared properly, the antioxidant strength may be strong. weak or none at all. I'll tell you in a little while on how to prepare garlic in order to bring out it's health benefits but first let's take a look at the substances.

Allicin has antioxidant properties

The main substance of garlic that can give us the most health benefit is called the allicin (a sulfur compount). It has many properties aside from being an antioxidant. Allicin however does not exist when the garlic bulb is intact and undamaged.
Allicin is only formed when the garlic is crushed or sliced rupturing the cell compartments which contain many substances including alliin and allinase,

When alliin (an amino acid) comes in contact with allinase (an enzyme), it produces a chemical reaction which turns aliin into allicin. That's the time you can smell the pungent odor of garlic. Allicin is now formed which could bring many health benefits for your body.

How to choose garlic

  • The bulb and cloves must be undamaged, no visible cracks or cuts.
  • Don't choose the big ones called elephant garlic because it is less potent than the small ones. The elephant garlic are more related to the leek than to garlic.
  • The bulb or cloves must be plump and firm when you try to squeeze it.
  • There must be no sign of sprouting
  • The outer or papery covering must be dry.
  • No rot.

Storing garlic

  • Never store garlic immersed in oil at room temperature as it would give rise to botulism (a toxin which could bring stomach illness leading eventually to death)
  • Never store garlic in the refrigerator for a long time as it could also give rise to botulism.
  • Store it at a dry well ventilated location. It could last for 3 to 6 months.

How to prepare garlic to obtain the most health benefit

To get the most out of garlic, it's pungent odor must be released because it is an indication of the presence of allicin. Some culinary techniques are used to lessen it's odor because some people does not like the smell of it. The health benefits however decline.

  • Smash the unpeeled cloves with the flat of a knife. These should create some formation of allicin.
  • Peel the leaves and slice the cloves into small pieces to have more aliin and allinase combine to create allicin.
  • Leave for several minutes before cooking to allow more reactions of aliin and allinase. The more the reactions, the better health and antioxidants benefits it will bring.
  • Pour the sliced cloves into the cooking pot only when you are almost done with the cooking. Allicin is very volatile and could be lost after a few hours. Long exposure to heat also shortens the life of allicin,

Your food is now loaded with antioxidants from garlic. Enjoy the holiday season with health in mind!

Similar posts:

Anthocyanin Antioxidants in the Acai Berry
Xanthones Antioxidants in the Mangosteen Super Fruit
Antioxidants in the Goji Berry
Punicalagin Antioxidants in Pomegranate

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Punicalagin Antioxidants in Pomegranate

Antioxidants in Pomegranate

Punicalagins, a tannin, are the major antioxidant components of pomegranate. Other antioxidant present in the pomegranate fruit are anthocyanins(responsible for the color both inside and outside of the fruit), ellagitannins, and hydrolyzed tannins. This is how the fruit became popular and has come to be one of the so called superfuits or superfoods because of its health benefits.

The fruit is about 2.5" to 5" in diameter, roundish, and is riddled with many seeds inside. The flesh covering the seeds are edible. The color is green outside when raw but turns to a bright attractive red when fully ripe. The taste is semi sweet and semi sour.

Because of its antioxidant power, many manufacturers have produced juices, extracts and other health beneficial products from this fruit. Many studies have been done in testing the antioxidant capacity of punicalagins and anthocyanin together with other antioxidants found in pomegranate. The following is a list of some observations that were made.

  • inhibits the proliferation of human cancer cells - lung, prostate, etc.
  • it has anti-microbial properties - anti-viral, anti-fungs, etc.
  • helps in the reduction of LDL cholesterol to make the body's cardiovascular system healthy
  • lessens the effect of menopause
  • inhibits atherosclerosis

Different fruits, different antioxidants

The major antioxidant player in pomegrante is punicalagin, anthocyanin in acai, carotenoids in goji berry and xanthones in mangosteen. Other fruits for sure have different antioxidant contents. Each antioxidant has its own special interaction with the chemicals and cells in our body. Some antioxidants fat(lipophyllic) soluble and others are water(hydrophyllic) soluble.

Why do the antioxidants in fruit differ? Maybe its a hint we can gain from nature that it is best to eat a variety of fruits and not limit ourselves to a few to gain maximum benefit for our body. Thanks to science, these antioxidants have been identified and experimented with.

Not all these fruits are available in our locality. Thanks to the manufacturers who have produced juices, extracts and supplements from these fruits for they have made available the antioxidant health benefits specific for each fruit to other countries.

Similar posts

Antioxidants in Juices
Anthocyanin Antioxidants in the Acai Berry
Xanthones Antioxidants in the Mangosteen Super Fruit
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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Antioxidants in the Goji Berry

Goji Berry is loaded with antioxidants making it one of the so called super fruits. Aside from antioxidants it also provides macronutrients (nutrients needed by the body in large quantities - carbohydrates, protein, dietary fiber and fat), micronutrients (nutrients needed by the body in small quantities - 33 dietary minerals, 5 carotenoids, 6 vitamins., 18 amino acids, 8 polysaccharides, 6 monosaccharides, 5 unsaturated fatty acids, phytosterols), phytochemicals and many others.

Antioxidant content


Polysaccharides found in the Goji berry has some interesting properties as this article suggests:

Goji Scientific Research

They refer to it as "master molecules".

Medicinal uses

Chinese medicine believes the body can greatly benefit from this berry. Some of these are:

  • Enhance the function of the immune system
  • Improve blood circulation
  • raise sperm production
  • protection of the liver
  • improves eyesight

That's just a few of the many medicinal benefits that this berry brings.

Is the Goji berry the best super fruit?

There is no best super fruit. Each one of has its own unique blend of antioxidants and nutrients. The acai for example has this anthocyanin as its major antioxidant, xanthones for mangosteen etc..

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Antioxidant Capacity Measurement - Food ORAC Values 2007

ORAC(Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) is the favored choice in the science community in measuring the antioxidant capacity of foods. Blueberries, blackberries, apple, eggplant and other foods have different orac values. ORAC measures how well the antioxidants in food neutralize free radicals.

The Agriculture Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture has recently provided data on the ORAC values of 277 food items. The data is available for download at

For your info.

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Anthocyanin Antioxidants in the Acai Berry

The antioxidant anthocyanin

Anthocyanins are plant pigments that provide fruits its vibrant colors. It also serves as a protection from the sun's ultraviolet rays which could trigger free radicals inside the fruit. They belong to a class of flavonoids making them potent antioxidants. Large quantities of anthocyanins can be found in dark colored fruits like blueberries and acai.
Among the many health benefits of ingesting anthocyanin are:
  • anti-cancer
  • anti-aging
  • anti-bacterial
  • anti-inflammatory
Eggplant, oranges, berries and even cabbage contain anthocyanin but in varying degrees. The more anthocyanin the fruit has, the more antioxidant benefit you can get from them

Acai berries

acaiAcai berries are found in the Amazon rain forests and they are a good source of anthocyanins and hence antioxidants. Aside from antioxidants, the acai berry also contains many nutrients that our body can benefit well. See Acai Berry and Its Nutrient Value for a discussion on this topic.
The antioxidant properties of acai berry is best described in the article Acai Fruit - Super Antioxidant. Learn about the comparison of its antioxidant capacity compared to other fruits.

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