(ORAC) The Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity of Essential Oils Compared to Fresh Vegetables
The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) assay is a laboratory procedure developed in 1992 at the National Institute of Aging in Silver Springs, Maryland. It is used to measure the antioxidant capacities of many foods, juices, and oils. The higher the ORAC score, the more capable that particular food or oil is of destroying free radicals (Free radicals can cause disease and aging by changing the structure of the bodyâ€™s cell walls, DNA, and protein, disrupting their important functions), thus retarding the aging process and preventing cancers and other diseases.
Foods with a high ORAC score may be able to protect cells and their components from oxidative damage. Oxygen radicals are chemicals that form naturally inside the body through the process of oxidation. Everyday functions such as digestion and physical activity produce oxygen radicals. Daily exposure to polluted air, rancid food and oxidizing radiation from the sun and electrical appliances also contribute.
An easy to understand example of oxidation is to imagine rust attacking metal. When the rust eats away at the metal, the metal starts to weaken and decay until it can no longer work. This is what happens to our body when free radicals attack it. Organs, cells and other parts of the body can be weakened by oxidation. This leads to diseases such as cancer, skin and heart diseases, senile dementia and osteoarthritis.
Studies have shown that eating foods with a high ORAC score will raise the antioxidant levels in the blood by around 10 to 25%. The ORAC figure suggested by experts is around 5,000 units per day to have a significant effect on plasma and tissue antioxidant levels. Eating eight to ten servings of brightly colored fruits and vegetables or dark greens will help achieve this level.
Here are some examples of ORAC scores:
Fruits and Vegtables Essential Oils
Carrots 210 Sandalwood (Aloes) 160
Oranges 750 Frankincense 630
Beets 840 Rose of Sharon (cistus) 3,860
Raspberries 1,220 Cinnamon 10,340
Strawberries 1,540 Spikenard 54,800
Blueberries 2,400 Myrrh 379,800
Wolfberries 25,300 Clove 1,078,700
Most essential oils score higher than most fruits and vegetables, as the two tables above suggest. In fact, essential oils have the highest ORAC scores of all substances in the world. An ounce of Clove Oil has the antioxidant capacity of 320 pounds of carrots, 28 quarts of blueberries, or 10 gallons of beet juice. The exceptionally high ORAC scores of essential oils partially explains why living with them in your daily environment â€“ to breathe, eat, and apply to your body â€“ can support all of your systems and contribute effectively towards long healthful living, even when used in very small quantities, and even when only inhaling them.
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