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In 1999, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the details of a study finding that foods with high ORAC values may help to slow the aging process and to protect cells from oxidative damage (from free radicals). The Orac test is a test used by the US Department of Agriculture to determine how much anti-oxidant power a food has. Basically the test measures how long it takes for the nutrients in the food to start attacking free radicals and how quickly it can fight off free radicals and also the amount of free radicals that it can get rid of. The test then scores these foods based on their anti-oxidant ability.
The Orac test isn't the only measurement of the anti-oxidant power of a food but it's considered to be the best measurement and it's the industry standard when it comes to declaring whether or not a particular food is considered an anti-oxidant. According to the Orac test every person should be consuming 5000 Orac units per day in order to get the best anti-oxidant benefits that they can.
Anti-oxidants are important for good health but many people don't get even half of the amount of anti-oxidants that they should get everyday, usually because they don't know that the foods they think are high in anti-oxidant power actually aren't. You might be surprised to learn that some of your favorite foods don't have as much anti-oxidant power as you might have thought. Bananas, for example, are the second lowest on the Orac list of fruits with lots of anti-oxidant power.
At the top of the list are Goji Berries. Goji Berries have 25,300 Orac units of anti-oxidant power. Just 20 Gogi Berries will give you the recommended amount of daily anti-oxidants. You would need 65 black rasberries, the second highest rate fruit on the Orac test, to get the same amount of anti-oxidant power as you get in 20 Goji berries.
Each anti-oxidant affects the body differently so you still need to eat a wide variety of anti-oxidant fruits and vegetables in order to be healthy. But if you know the Orac test score of different fruits and vegetables you can make a more informed decision about which fruits and vegetables you should eat in order to have a balanced diet and get 5000 Orac units per day.