The ORAC value

29/06/2011by in Uncategorized

Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity or “ORAC as it’s scarcely known is a method of measuring antioxidant levels within food and drink. It is believed that the correlation between the high antioxidant capacity of fruit and veg, plays an important role in the free radical theory of ageing…less wrinkles!

In 2007, scientists of the United States Department of Agriculture published an updated list of ORAC values commonly consumed by the U.S population. The top 5 most commonly consumed in the UK:

Small red bean ½ a cup dried beans 13,727
Wild blueberry 1 cup 13,427
Red kidney bean ½ a cup dried beans 13,259
Blueberry 1 cup 9,019
Cranberry 1 cup 8,983

With nearly all vegetables, boiling reduces their ORAC value significantly, so use steaming as an alternative to retain their natural value.

The ORAC value is measured in two ways:

  • The first is measured as ORAC grams per dry weight
  • The second is measured in ORAC value per wet weight

These measurements result in different ORAC values based only on weight, therefore is inaccurate when comparing a dried herb or spice to a watermelon… so remember to read the label for correct measurements and ORAC value.

In recent months numerous health food companies have tried to capitalise on the “ORAC Value”, with endless concentrated supplements now on the shelves all claiming to be the “number 1 product”. However the majority of these values have yet to be published within the scientific literature, so are difficult to evaluate. It is still unknown how accurate, absorbable and functional the concentrated antioxidants really are in the human body.