Catalyst 4 Fitness

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Benefits of Antioxidants

Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, or ORAC, is a method of measuring the antioxidant capacity of food and drink. Why should you care?  Well, the benefits of antioxidants are important in our lives.

Antioxidants slow or prevent the oxidation of molecules (oxidative stress) which can produce free radicals. Free radicals can damage cells, and result in cellular mutations, tissue breakdown, and immune compromise.

antioxidants and free radicals

Antioxidants are widely used as ingredients in dietary supplements in the hope of preventing diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease, as well as slowing the aging process.

The USDA recommends a daily antioxidant intake range of 3000 – 5000 ORAC yet most American adults don’t reach this. Studies have shown that more active lifestyles may require higher amounts.

As you read this list of foods, remember that along with the ORAC value, calories and fats may come too!  Consider this my disclaimer so you don’t eat lots and lots of chocolate and wonder why you are gaining weight.

Foods with high ORAC values include: (based on 100 gram amounts)

Unprocessed cocoa powder 26,000

Acai berry 18,500

Dark chocolate 13,120

benefits of antioxidants

Milk chocolate 6740

Prunes 5770

Pomegranate 3307

Raisins 2830

Blueberries 2400

Garlic 1939

Cranberries 1750

Strawberries 1540

Spinach, raw 1260

Broccoli florets 890

Avocado 782

Red grapes 739

Cherries 670

Banana 210

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