ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is a measurement of anti-oxidant concentrations in food products such as vegetables, beans, spices and fruits. Oxidation is a process that can damage cells; therefore, anti-oxidants are substances that are used to help counteract the degeneration process, and are believed to assist with good health and disease prevention. Typically, the higher the ORAC value of a given substance, the more anti-oxidants that are present.
Anti-oxidants are naturally found in a variety of foods such as:
Berries Kale Dates Squash Almonds Pinto Beans Spinach Apricots Red Beets Olive Oil Pomegranates Grapes
Extracts from many of anti-oxidant-rich foods are incorporated into nutritional complexes and supplements as well. Our Apex Energetics Nourish Greens contains a wide array of organic and wildcrafted ingredients from this list, and features one of the highest ORAC values that is available on the market. This protein base is an easy way to obtain the nutrition your body needs; simply dissolve a scoop in a 6-8 oz. glass of water (recommended serving) for consumption each day.
Years ago, there were just four official food groups, and the guide to a balanced diet was a simple as "4-4-3-2":
4 servings of fruits and vegetables 4 servings of bread and cereal 3 servings of milk and dairy 2 servings of meat
That approach by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA food pyramid has since changed. Today, there are so many more options for getting the proper nutrition while enriching your diet with foods packed with antioxidants. A balanced diet no longer follows that traditional USDA model.
Take for example the Zone diet or the Paleo diet. Both of these plans recommend lower consumptions of grains and higher amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, so it's easier for you to get the antioxidants and nutrients you need to stay healthy while encouraging a body that's lean and fit. Even if you don't follow one of these diets to the letter, you can still make smart choices when it comes to your diet:
- If you have to incorporate some grains into your diet, try to select grain products that are made from whole grains.
- Consider switching from whole milk to low-fat or fat-free varieties.
- When selecting produce, go for the dark green and orange veggies, and try to choose fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit as opposed to fruit juices (that tend to contain a lot of added sugar).
- At snack time, reach for fruits or vegetables instead of vending machine munchies.
- Think lean when selecting meats, and grill or bake when preparing.
- Every diet needs some fats, but choose oils rich in "good fats" and high ORAC values such as extra virgin olive oil.
Of course, if ever unsure about what is best for your nutritional plan, consult with your health care professional.