Do you know how to find the ORAC value of your food?
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Do you know how to find the ORAC value of your food?

Sacramento : CA : USA | May 14, 2011 at 8:06 PM PDT
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How many people interested in healthier eating know what's the ORAC value of any given fruit or vegetable? It's the antioxidant value of a food. The ORAC value stands for a food's oxygen radical absorbance capacity.

How efficient is that food in absorbing free radicals? You don't want "free radicals" rusting out your arteries and organs. Free radicalcause cellular damage, and exposure to free radicals comes from environmental and dietary sources.

What effects can eating foods with high antioxidant powers have? Why is it healthier to eat foods that come from eating fruits and vegetables that measure high on their ORAC values? Did you ever compare ORAC values of juices to plant extracts where you only take a tiny amount compared to the juice that you drink by the cup?

For example, the ORAC value of Barlean's olive leaf complex is 7,608, where you're only taking a tiny dose such as a 1/2 tablespoon or tablespoon full of the plant extract, compared to the ORAC value of the various "super juices." You can obtain olive leaf extract at most health food stores and natural food markets or online.

Compare Noni juice, with an ORAC value of 270, mangosteen juice, 855, acai juice, 900, or goji berry juice with an ORAC value of 1,215. The issue with the juices is that you're drinking juices by the cup and taking plant extracts by the teaspoon or tablespoon per dose.

So you have to research what's being compared--a cup to a tablespoon of any given product or equal amounts. The tables usually give you total antioxidant capacity (TAC).

Then you need to know the scientific term, TAC, which equals hydrophylic ORAC plus lipophylic ORAC (amount per dose). For more information, check out the Barleans.com site which gives you information on olive leaf complex as a super ORAC antioxidant.

Should you brew a tea from organic olive leaves or buy olive leaf extract? It's not just any olive leaf extract. Researchers tested 60 olive tree varieties in 12 different countries to find 1 winner.

You need to look at research. And with plant extracts, know what is done with what ingredients during the fresh leaf extraction process, and then what is the result.

What stops consumers from looking at research sometimes is that too much research is not explained in news articles using plain language or technical terms are not defined so people can easily understand what they mean in regard to health.

Eat High on the ORAC Value of Foods and Low on Glycemic Index

Are you eating high on the ORAC value of a given food and low on the Glycemic Index? It is believed that foods higher on the ORAC scale will more effectively neutralize these free radicals.

To view lists of foods low on the Glycemic Index, also see the site, Low Glycemic Index Foods at the Right Health website. To find out the antioxidant value of any fruit or vegetable, you look at its ORAC value. Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is a method of measuring antioxidant capacities of different foods. A helpful article is ORAC Values Explained: Antioxidants: Archives: Vista Magazine. Let's explain what ORAC values of plant food really mean.

The ORAC value is a test that only measures both the degree and speed with which a certain food inhibits those two measurements--the organic compounds in the plant food and the speed at which that food inhibits those measurements into a single value. That produces an accurate assessment of different types of antioxidants that have various strengths.

When you look at the ORAC value of any food, what to remember is that the ORAC value of that afood is proportional to its polyphenol content. So fruits or vegetables with a higher ORAC value also have richer color.

And the higher the ORAC value and richer or deeper the color, the result for that fruit or vegetable is its ability to suppress free radicals better than fruits or vegetables lighter in color.

You don't have to follow a vegan lifestyle for the rest of your life if you don't want to, nor should you if you have any deficiencies that need to be corrected, but if you try a vegan, at least 50% raw plant-food diet for 30 days, you can have your blood tested to see whether your high blood glucose becomes more manageable. There are some videos on uTube attesting to reversing type 2 diabetes with a 30-day eating style of vegan, raw foods.

You want to eat high on the ORAC value scale that measures antioxidants and low on the glycemic index that measures how fast the glucose (sugar) in those carbohydrates you're eating will hit your blood stream. Here's a brief explanation of the differences bewteen ORAC values and glycemic index measurements.

Before you plan any diet change, after you've talked it over with your health care professional team, you might want to understand more about the difference between eating low on the glycemic index and eating high on the ORAC value scale

Polyphenols may help you manage your weight. But how does this work? You look up the ORAC value of the plant food. Then you simply eat foods high on the plant food's ORAC value and low on its glycemic index.

The standard index of finding out how much antioxidant value of any type of plant food (actually the organic compounds in the fruit or vegetable) is called the ORAC. The initials stand for the oxygen radical absorbance capacity. The glycemic index is a measure of how fast that food will turn to sugar in your bloodstream once you eat it.

Which is more important, the Glycemic Index or the ORAC value of a food when you're trying to manage your weight? The USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University developed the ORAC test. Can you manage or lose weight by measuring the ability of antioxidants to absorb free radicals? That depends on how large or small your portion size is, what time of day you eat, and the calories needed for energy to do your daily work.

If you look at the recommendations from the US Dept. of Agriculture, the suggestions are to eat foods equivalent to 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units daily. But is this number fine, or is it too low? As you can see, fruits, particularly some types of berries are much higher in ORAC value than vegetables, but fruits have more sugars.

To find out what foods are highest in ORAC value, you can look at the article, "What Foods are Highest in ORAC Value?" The article is published in the June, 2010 issue of Life Extension magazine, on page 38. Usually the articles appear online a month after publication in the print magazine. Also see, ORAC Values - The Best Antioxidants and Superfoods. See, Antioxidant Values of Foods Sorted by ORAC Value.

What Foods are Low on the Glycemic Index? Eating foods low on the glycemic index may prevent the sugar spikes that pour insulin into your blood, creating problems such as belly fat, metabolic syndrome, and too much insulin in the blood that's not working properly to balance your sugar levels (blood glucose levels).

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index is about the quality of the carbohydrates, not the quantity. The measurement of the glycemic index of a food is not related to portion size. It remains the same whether you eat a tablespoon full of a particular food or a cup. To make a fair comparison, those who make up some of the tests of the glycemic indexes of food usually use 50 grams of available carbohydrate in each food.

What happens when you eat twice as many carbohydrates in a food that, for example, has a glycemic index of 50 than one that has a glycemic index of 100 and have the same blood glucose response? How do you manage your weight? You have to go with portion size and total calories.

Actually, the Glycemic Index indirectly measures a food's effect on blood sugar. It actually measured the "area under the blood sugar curve" following a set intake of that carb. Not all carbohydrate foods are created equal, in fact they behave quite differently in our bodies.

The glycemic index or GI describes this difference by ranking carbohydrates according to their effect on our blood glucose levels. Choosing low GI carbs - the ones that produce only small fluctuations in our blood glucose and insulin levels - is the secret to long-term health reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes and is the key to sustainable weight loss.

Check out the lists of foods that are low on the glycemic index at the Food & Diet in Diabetes website. For example, peanuts registers a 14 on the Glycemic Index, which is low, whereas a baked potato registers 85, which is high. And ice cream is in the middle at 61 on the Glycemic Index. Look at a comparison chart of foods listed on the Glycemic Index at Glycemic Index - NutritionData.com.

For women, a better way to balance your hormones is to eat foods listed as low on the Glycemic Index and high as far as the food's ORAC value. One site that lists the actual measurements of the Glycemic Index foods listed there is the Nutrition Data.com site. Check out the Nutrient Search database. Also see the article, "How to Use the Glycemic Index."

In the year 2000, women were recruited for a 10-month study at the University of California, Davis, to determine how diet affects the risk for osteoporosis. The study compared women who are vegans to those women eating a typical American diet.

The 2000 study was jointly sponsored by the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Western Human Nutrition Research Center, based at UC Davis. Also see the article, "Pregnancy and the vegan diet."

The Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis has an article in PDF file format online, Some Facts About Vegetarian Diets, that notes, "Eliminating the meat can increase vegetable intake and reduce saturated fat and cholesterol intake.

Vegetarians can also turn to many ethnic cuisines, such as Indian, Middle Eastern, Hispanic, and Asian, for plant-based dishes that include protein in the form of beans, nuts, and higher-protein grains." Also check out my other Examiner article, Should pregnant women stay on their usual vegan diets?

Low Glycemic Index Foods (55 or less)
Skim milk
Plain Yogurt
Soy beverage
Apple/plum/orange
Sweet potato
Oat bran bread
All-Bran
Converted or Parboiled rice
Pumpernickel bread
Al dente (firm) pasta
Lentils/kidney/baked beans
Chick peas

Medium Glycemic Index Foods (56-69)
Banana
Pineapple
Raisins
New potatoes
Oatmeal
Popcorn
Split pea or green pea soup
Brown rice
Couscous
Basmati rice
Shredded wheat cereal
Whole wheat bread
Rye bread

High Glycemic Index Foods
Watermelon
Dried dates
Instant mashed potatoes
Baked white potato
Parsnips
Rutabaga
Instant rice
Corn Flakes
Rice Krispies
Cheerios
Bagel, white
Soda crackers
Jellybeans
French fries

Olive Leaf Extract is High on ORAC Value

Clinical evidence has proven the blood pressure lowering effects of carefully extracted olive leaf extracts.[1][2][3][4] Bioassays support its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory effects at a laboratory level.

A liquid extract made directly from fresh olive leaves recently gained international attention when it was shown to have an antioxidant capacity almost double green tea extract and 400% higher than vitamin C.[5]

Don't take olive leaf extract if you're taking medicines to lower your blood pressure or are taking drugs to lower your blood glucose/blood sugar levels, for example, if you're diabetic. Check out the studies on olive leaf extract before you take it to be sure you know how it may work in your body considering your conditions and whether or not you're taking prescription medicines.

Read the book, Olive Leaf Extract, by Dr. Morton Walker for further information on its effectiveness and full range of applications. See the book, Amazon.com: Olive Leaf Extract (9781575662268): Morton Walker: Books.

Sacramento's various health food events, stores, and trends each year have focused on various extracts to help lower too-high blood pressure naturally without drugs, when drugs are not necessary. The latest trend is to try olive leaf extract, and to 'clean' the liver, or possibly lower cholesterol somewhat with the extract of artichoke.

In the Sacramento and Davis regional areas, the University of California, Davis has studied the health effects of extracts of the olive leaf. See the PDF file article, Olive Mineral Nutrition. Also, if you want to read the latest studies on phytotherapy, check out the journal, Phytotherapy Research.

Also, you may want to read a wide variety of studies and articles on olive leaf extract used to lower high blood pressure, for example the August 26, 2008 news release based on a study of olive leaf extract, "Olive leaf extract can help tackle high blood pressure and cholesterol." There have been other studies such as, "A compound extracted from olives inhibits cancer cells growth and prevents their appearance."

Taking 1000mg of a specific olive leaf extract (EFLA®943) can lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure in patients with mild hypertension (high blood pressure). These findings came from a 'Twins' trial, in which different treatments were given to identical twins. By doing this, researchers could increase the power of their data by eliminating some of the uncertainties caused by genetic variations between individual people.

The research is published in the September, 2008 edition of Phytotherapy Research. Check out the study at the primary source, "Food supplementation with an olive (Olea europaea L.) leaf extract reduces blood pressure in borderline hypertensive monozygotic twins (pages 1239–1242)."

The issue here, is the study was done with borderline hypertensives. If you have high blood pressure increasing as you age is is not borderline any longer, will olive leaf extract still work to reduce your blood pressure without drugs if you have decided to step away from conventional medicine and find the root cause of your problem, perhaps a genetic variant in your kidneys or some other cause, for example toxic metals in your system or anger issues, stress, lifestyle, and diet?

Hypertension is one of the most common and important disease risk factors imposed by the modern lifestyle. Many people would therefore benefit from finding ways of reducing blood pressure. Experiments in rats had previously indicated that olive leaf extract could be one way of achieving this goal.

To test this in humans, researchers from Switzerland and Germany conducted a pilot trial with 20 identical (monozygotic) twin pairs who had an increased blood pressure. Individuals were either given placebo capsules or capsules containing doses of 500mg or 1000mg of olive leaf extract EFLA®943. Pairs of twins were assigned to different treatments. After the subjects had taken the extract for eight weeks researchers measured blood pressures as well as collecting data about aspects of life-style.

"The study confirmed that olive leaf extract EFLA®943 has antihypertensive properties in humans," says one of the co-authors, Cem Aydogan, General Manager, Frutarom Health, according to the news release. "This works showed that taking a 1000mg dose has substantial effects in people with borderline hypertension," says Aydogan.

Regarding cancer and how a compound in the leaf of the olive tree might help is research from the University of Granada that has revealed how maslinic acid, a compound present in the leaf and the olive skin wax extracted from alpeorujo (crushed olive pulp), has the capacity of preventing cancer as well as regulating apoptosis in carcinogenic processes.

Maslinic acid is a protease inhibitor that, among other features, has the capacity of regulating cell growth. It is useful for cancer treatment, as it allows to control the hyperplasia and hypertrophy processes, typical of this disease. The scientists of the UGR have characterized for the first time maslinic acid action from the molecular point of view when it is applied to the development of tumour cells.

This work has been carried out by Ph D student Fernando Jesús Reyes Zurita, and directed by Professor José Antonio Lupiáñez Cara, of the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I. According to them, the advantages of maslinic acid are three: Unlike other anti-carcinogenic products, highly cytotoxic, it is a natural compound and, therefore, less toxic. In addition, it is selective, this is, it only acts on carcinogenic cells, whose pH is more acid than usual. And lastly, it has a preventive nature, as it can inhibit cancer appearance in those cells with a higher predisposition to develop it.

For all types of cancer, can olive leaf extract help if the medical studies show any results?

Although the research group of Professor Lupiáñez Cara has analysed the effect of maslinic acid in the treatment of colon cancer, it can be used in different types of tumors. For the moment, their research works have been developed in colon carcinoma lines and transgenic mice, but they have not dismissed the possibility of applying them to humans in future.

Maslinic acid is a pentacyclic terpene which, besides being anti-carcinogenic, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and can be found in high concentrations in olive skin wax. At present, the only production plant of this substance at a semi-industrial level in the whole world is at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Granada.

So check out these studies. Scientists spend time trying to fiind flaws in studies, and when they can't find flaws, the research continues. And sometimes the research continues if a flaw is found and corrected in the next study.

So when Sacramento reaches for the next plant extract, at least there are studies online to read to talk with your health care team about or to sample. The results are one reason why some nutritionists are interested in ethnobotany research.

About olive leaf extract: for thousands of years, tea brewed from the leaves of certain species of olive trees have been used as folk medicine in those nations where olive trees grow naturally. In modern times, at last scientists are studying folkloric herbal remedies such as the extracts of olive leafs and the extracts of artichokes.

At least in Sacrameanto, the use of these extracts is growing more popular as mainstream TV shows present more research in plain language in the news and in the health-related programs. For example, the April 4, 2011 Dr. Oz TV show covered research findings in plain English on artichoke extract. See, Herbal Healers: Artichoke Extract, Pt 1. | The Dr. Oz Show. Also see the article, Olive Leaf Extract.

Does olive leaf extract kill the good bacteria with the bad? According to the article, " Olive Leaf Extract," the problem with using olive leaf extract in the body was that once in the blood, a protein combined with it and caused it to be inactivated. An American company in 1995 found that if the active molecule in olive leaf extract was rotated around a specific axis by a precise amount, the blood protein no longer inactivated it.

So once the blood protein no longer inactivated olive leaf extract, it then could effectively eliminate or control a very broad range of microorganisms and associated conditions in the body. The list of microbial-related illnesses olive leaf is said to help include the following: herpes, Epstein Barr (and cytomegalo viruses), chlamydia, cholera, hepatitis (A, B, and C), malaria, measles, meningitis, rabies, tapeworm, salmonella, tuberculosis, staphylococcus, polio, vaginitis, thrush, strep throat, whooping cough, pneumonia, ringworm, bacillus cereus, and several others, according to the article, "Olive Leaf Extract."

What do scientists report regarding actual funded research on olive leaf extracts? Research emphasize that olive leaf extract products without this unique molecular rotation are minimally effective in the body because they are inactivated by a blood protein after a short period of time (approximately 15 minutes).

The actual research studies report that "olive leaf extract has been shown to lower blood pressure, cause dilation of coronary arteries, reduce atrial fibrillation, and possess antioxidant capacity," according to the article, "Olive Leaf Extract." Also check out the site that explains why knowing the ORAC value of a specific food is important for your health .

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Cover of Michel Montignac's Glycemic Index Diet
Cover of Michel Montignac's Glycemic Index Diet
AnneHart is based in Sacramento, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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