It's radical man!
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are molecules which can safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged. The body cannot manufacture these antioxidants so they must be supplied in the diet. Dietary antioxidants, when ingested, can protect cells in the body from oxidation's harmful effects.
ORAC values refer to the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity of a food, as determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By testing the ability of foods and other compounds to subdue oxygen free radicals, the DOA was able to determine each compound's antioxidant capability. It's a scale measuring the level of antioxidant value of a compound.
Studies at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston suggest that consuming fruits and vegetables with a high-ORAC value may help slow the aging process in both body and brain. Early evidence indicates that this antioxidant activity translates to animals, protecting cells and their components from oxidative damage.
Science has long held that damage by oxygen free radicals is behind many of the maladies that come with aging, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. There's firm evidence that a high intake of fruits and vegetables reduces risk of cancer and that a low intake raises risk. And there is recent evidence that suggests that diminished brain function associated with aging and other disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases may be due to increased vulnerability to free radicals, says.
So another aspect of health is to eat plenty of raw organic fruits and vegetables! High in fiber, high in ORAC value, filled with natural goodness! Raw and fresh is the best! Seek to get a minimum ORAC value of 3,000 per day. Some reports say we can benefit from 7,000 per day! Keep drinking good water, exercise, get enough rest and stay away from calories that have no nutritional value!
Grace and Peace,