ORAC

ORAC - Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity

Free radicals, and the damage they can do at the cellular level, have received a lot of attention in the last few years.  The oxidative stress caused by free radicals - which are produced during normal metabolism and cell function, as well as from stress and pollutants in our air, water and food - is implicated in everything from aging and wrinkling of skin to DNA damage, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

This is clearly an issue for anyone concerned about their health, or just looking and feeling younger, and is especially important for those engaged in strenuous physical training.


Antioxidants to the rescue

The good news is that you're not left to the ravages of these free radicals.  Antioxidants offer powerful, effective protection for your body and cells against their oxidative stress, by blunting the damaging effects of free radicals.

But, how are you to tell which foods or other natural substances offer you the best protection from the damaging effects of free radicals?


The ORAC Scale on antioxidant capacity

USDA researchers at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, have developed a laboratory test to measure the oxygen radical absorption capacity of different foods and natural substances.  Known as the ORAC scale, it is one of the most sensitive and reliable methods for measuring antioxidant capacity.

The first test of its kind, the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale measures both the time and degree of free-radical inhibition.

All antioxidant capacity measures are estimated by Ferric Reducing Power, and are expressed as micromole Trolox equivalent(TE) per 100 grams (µTE/100 g).  The ORAC test is accurate to +/- 5%.

 

 

Comparison of different foods and natural substances on the ORAC scale

Essential Oil Antioxidant Capacity

Foods Antioxidant Capacity

Clove

1,078,700

Vitamin E oil

3,309

Myrrh

379,800

Pomegranates

3,037

Citronella

312,000

Blueberries

2,400

Coriander

298,300

Kale

1,770

Fennel

238,400

XanGo juice

1,644

Clary sage

221,000

Strawberries

1,540

German chamomile

218,600

Tahitian Noni

1,506

Cedarwood

169,000

Spinach

1,260

Rose

160,400

Raspberries

1,220

Nutmeg

158,100

Brussels sprouts

980

Melissa

134,300

Plums

949

Marjoram

130,900

Broccoli florets

890

Ylang ylang

130,000

Beets

840

Palmarosa

127,800

Oranges

750

Rosewood

113,200

Red grapes

739

Manuka

106,200

Red bell peppers

710

Wintergreen

101,800

Cherries

670

Geranium

101,000

Yellow corn

400

Ginger

99,300

Eggplant

390

Bay laurel

98,900

Limu juice

305

Eucalyptus citriodora

83,000

Carrots

210

Cumin

82,400


Black pepper

79,700

Essential Oils Antioxidant Capacity

Vetiver

74,300

Grapefruit

22,600

Petitgrain

73,600

Hyssop

20,900

Blue cypress

73,100

Balsam fir

20,500

Citrus hystrix (limette)

69,200

Niaouli

18,600

Douglas fir

69,000

Thyme

15,960

Blue tansy

68,800

Oregano

15,300

Goldenrod

61,900

Cassia

14,800

Melaleuca Ericifolia

61,100

Sage

11,300

Blue yarrow

55,900

Mountain savory

10,340

Spikenard

54,800

Cinnamon bark

7,100

Basil

54,000

Tsuga

6,200

Patchouli

49,400

Valerian

3,860

White fir

47,900

Cistus

3,860

Tarragon

37,900

Eucalyptus globulus

2,410

Cajeput

37,600

Orange

1,890

Peppermint

37,300

Lemongrass

1,780

Cardamom

36,500

Helichrysum

1,740

Dill

35,600

Ravensara

890

Celery seed

30,300

Lemon

660

Canadian Fleabane

26,700

Frankincense

630

Mandarin

26,500

Spearmint

540

Lime

26,200

Lavender

360

Galbanum

26,200

Rosemary

330

Myrtle

25,400

Juniper

250

Cypress

24,300

Roman chamomile

240