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Are you eating foods with a high ORAC value? By Ri

 Aging is a complex biological process decreased food intake, poor food quality and a sedentary lifestyle in the growing numbers of the population increase their risk for nutritional deficiency, deterioration of bodily functions and developing of degenerative diseases. Oxidative stress is believed to be an important factor in aging and many age-associated degenerative diseases. Dietary antioxidants are regarded as being important in modulating oxidative stress of aging and age-associated diseases. Certain anti-oxidants from phyto-nutrients (fruits and vegetables) can reverse brain damage in animals, for example Spirulina an aquatic micro-blue green algae re-establish a better brain function (1) while apple had a moderate effect and cucumber a very low effect. What is important is to have a high level of antioxidant capacity, antioxidant capacity can be measured in the blood using a method called oxygen absorbance capacity assay (ORAC). The results showed that the total antioxidant capacity in serum decreased significantly for anorexia nervosa, AIDS-encephalopathy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), AIDS-encephalopathy and diabetic polyneuropathy. Decrease of serum antioxidant capacity in patients with anorexia nervosa and AIDS-encephalopathy are probably due primarily to malnutrition and secondly to insufficient antioxidant and immune system. Certain diseases are not associated with a decrease antioxidant capacity, for example in renal diseases, depression syndrome and schizophrenia. Many experts suggest high intake of fruits and vegetables to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the baby boomers and their parents. ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) can be utilized to test the "antioxidant power" of foods and other chemical substances. It calculates the ability of a product or chemical to protect against potentially damaging free radicals. This analytical procedure measures the ability of a food, vitamin, nutritional supplement, or other chemical to protect against the attack by free radicals, or to act as an "antioxidant." The higher the ORAC value, the greater the "antioxidant power." Most of the experts agree that we need about 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units per day to have a significant impact on plasma and tissue antioxidant capacity. The average American diet is short of 2000 to 4000 ORAC units each day. While the deficit is not felt on a short period of time, the long term effects, in tissue damage, diminution of our cognitive performance and nutritional related diseases is certain, some of the diseases related to improper diets includes, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, cataracts, macular degeneration, osteoporosis, arthritis. Understanding the ORAC value of food products allow you to select them based on your taste but also on what is good for you, the following chart will assist you in establishing of keeping a high antioxidant level in your serum. To have a good body composition you need the good nutrients, calories and the quantity of the substances in them (minerals and vitamins) are no longer sufficient to guide you in their benefit. (1) Diets Enriched in Foods With High Antioxidant Activity Reverse Age-Induced Decreases in Cerebellar Beta -Adrenergic Function and Increases in Proinflammatory Cytokines Gemma C, Mesches MH, Sepesi B, et al J Neurosci. 2002;22:6114-6120 (2) Serum Antioxidant Capacity in Neurological, Psychiatric, Renal Diseases and Cardiomyopathy Sofic E, Rustembegovic A, Kroyer G, Cao G J Neural Transm. 2002;109:711-719 (3) Nutrition Interventions in Aging and Age-Associated Disease Meydani M, Meydani M Proc Nutr Soc. 2002;61:165-171

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