Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC)
Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is a method of measuring the antioxidant capacity of a food.
Correlation between the high antioxidant capacity of fruits & vegetables, and the positive impact of diets high in fruits & vegetables, is believed to play an important role in the Free-radical theory of aging. The ORAC assay evaluates “free radical scavenging activity against the peroxyl radical” or the antioxidant capacity of foods and supplements. It is important to critically examine ORAC values because although ORAC does provide helpful information when comparing the antioxidants in various products, companies may intentionally mislead consumers.
A red grape will have a lower ORAC value than the red grape powder not because of nutritional differences, but because of the difference in moisture. With this distinction in mind, consumers must note that a liquid dietary supplement’s ORAC value should not be compared to a powder dietary supplement’s ORAC value. Likewise, the value for food is measured per 100 grams while the value for supplements is often measured per gram. We encourage consumers to pay attention to the measurements of the ORAC value as well as the type of supplement measured in order to reach more accurate results of the antioxidant level.
USDA data on foods with high levels of antioxidant phytochemicals
|Food||Serving size||Antioxidant capacity|
per serving size
|Cinnamon, ground||100 grams||267,536|
|Aronia black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)||100 grams||16062|
|Small Red Bean||cup dried beans||13727|
|Wild blueberry||1 cup||13427|
|Red kidney bean||cup dried beans||13259|
|Blueberry||1 cup (cultivated berries)||9019|
|Cranberry||1 cup (whole berries)||8983|
|Artichoke hearts||1 cup, cooked||7904|
|Blackberry||1 cup (cultivated berries)||7701|
|Red Delicious apple||1 apple||5900|
|Granny Smith apple||1 apple||5381|
|Sweet cherry||1 cup||4873|
|Black plum||1 plum||4844|
|Russet potato||1, cooked||4649|
|Black bean||cup dried beans||4181|
|Gala apple||1 apple||3903|