Thursday, August 5, 2010

What is the ORAC Scale?

The oxygen radical absorbance capacity or ORAC scale measures a food’s ability to protect against free radicals. A high ORAC score means that a food or other compound is high in antioxidants. The ORAC scale was first developed by Dr. Guohua Cao at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

Health professionals recommend that we eat at least 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC points each day. Research reveals that eating a diet rich in antioxidants may protect cells from oxidative damage and therefore prevent cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.

You can check out the current database: USDA Database for the Oxygen RadicalAbsorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2

Example: 100 grams (3.5 oz) of blueberries ranks at around 2,400 points on the ORAC scale and a ½ cup of cooked broccoli is about 1,900 points. I have a feeling we’ll hear more about the ORAC scale in the near future!