Is ORAC value really that important?
Many ask, what is ORAC value. It is Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It used to be berries championing this cause among natural crops but there’s good reason to believe that purple corn is now tops, considering its powerful antioxidant capacity and activity—which is reported to be 150 times stronger than bioflavonoids. But anyway, as of press time, there still isn’t any published record available for that.
Which brings us to our second point of query—is ORAC value really that important? How accurate is it? Is the antioxidant capacity of foods established by just knowing what ORAC value is?
Each Lab to Its Own ORAC
Different labs measure ORAC differently. And sometimes their results lean to a particular bias for the sake of product promotion or propaganda. Moreover, fruits or crops subjected to ORAC tests differ in their condition of ripeness, the soil their trees were planted on, and their aptness for harvesting (harvest timing), to name a few. All these affect ORAC results, and we can just imagine how these conditions can vary with each fruit or crop specie—some would be better raised than the others and this creates unfair subjection to tests and the concomitant differences in ORAC values. We need to see these things to understand what ORAC value is.
The values found below are mere approximations. We do not advice people to make decisions to buy or reject certain fruits or crops based mainly on ORAC. Consider other bases. It is wiser to know what ORAC value is before using it to gauge the value of products.
|Food Crop||ORAC VALUE each 100 grams|
|Mangosteen||No available data as of June 2007|
|Decaf Tea||500 to 800|
NOTE: Dark chocolates, cocoa powder, and cacao beans are especially high in ORAC value.
ORAC VALUE Meaning
When a crop or fruit is high in ORAC it has a high antioxidant activity. This means it is a powerful disease fighter, and especially an anti-cancer. It has a high capacity to neutralize oxidation. It can also powerfully stop or destroy free radicals and carcinogenic cells.
But a perfect or at least reliable ORAC process is yet to be seen. If a uniform or standard test procedure is developed, then we can use ORAC as a reliable measure for fruit or crop strength. In addition, when we finally learn the answer to the question, what is ORAC value, then we'd use it correctly to ascertain food antioxidant value, not just promote one product to the prejudice of another.
Some people easily get carried away with high sounding terms like ORAC value and give it undue importance, more than it deserves. Why should we hold our horses when it comes to relying too much on it? Here are pertinent reasons:
1. The lack of industry standard for ascertaining ORAC values.
2. Advertisers and marketers may abuse it in favor of their supplements.
3. Various growing and yield conditions like temperature and season of harvesting may reflect an ORAC value higher than usual.
4. Storage and freezing of the plant or crop sample to be tested.
5. Results from simple assays as well as ORAC and DPPH (2,2’-diphenyl-l-picrylhydrazyl) results are really all about the free radical scavenging capacity of an antioxidant president in a crop. It seldom follows that the same effect can be had when the crop is eaten. Sometimes it’s a different story when the food is ingested in the body. There’s little evidence that antioxidants function the same in the body as they do in clinical tests after digestion where body acids and enzymes act to dissolve food into smaller particles.
6. Fruits and veggies have other healing and health benefits than what ORAC can tell us about them. For instance, the super effects of their micronutrients to our health and body systems. A food can be a super ideal health supplement outside its ORAC value. A lot of herbs, for instance, have diverse and vital health effects on the body though they have little antioxidant value.
Other fruits, like some berries, have high antioxidant capacity and yet too much of them in the body can sometimes make your alertness too sensitive and give you some sleeping problems. Now, lack of sleep can spell big trouble for your health, I don’t care how high the berry’s ORAC value is.
Take cocoa for instance. It’s very high in antioxidants. Yet, too much of it increases theobromines or caffeine in the body and may trigger anxiety attacks or lack of sleep. What good would tons of antioxidants or skyscraper-high ranking in ORAC value do if your blood pressure flunks due to sleeplessness?
HERE’S WHAT’S IMPORTANT
Before we all forget, it’s getting healthier that’s important here—not what supplement has the highest this or that. The really needful thing is to eat as much fresh and organic fruits and veggies and take different kinds of all-natural health supplements. Don’t be a fanatic endorser of any one supplement product praising it to the highest heavens over the rest.