What are antioxidants and how do we measure them?
Antioxidants are found in all sorts of foods and they inhibit oxidation of the cells in our bodies. But what exactly are 'antioxidants?' If we break down the word: anti (against) oxidants (oxidation) which means antioxidants are substances that prevent cell damage and can cause oxidation. Below is an example of a free radical about to devour a healthy cell. Along comes an antioxidant to bond to the free radical and eliminate it out of your body.
This reactive oxidation can damage biological molecules such as proteins, lipids and DNA. While the human body has developed a number of systems to eliminate free radicals, the process is not 100% efficient. Oxidative stress is implicated in chronic diseases like heart disease , cancer , neuronal degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and also in the process of aging. Having a diet rich in antioxidants gives your body a big advantage.
How do we know how much antioxidants are in certain foods? The USDA has developed a method called ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity.) The ORAC scale offers the general public a tool that can be used to choose the most powerful foods for health and disease prevention.
Believe it or not, Dark Chocolate has higher antioxidant levels than most fruit and nuts. Dark Chocolate has 2 times the amount of antioxidants of strawberries!
But as with any medicine/superfood everyone processes things differently. The ORAC values were determined in test tube scenarios. Experiment with your favorite superfoods and combinations of superfoods to see how your body feels after each one. Having a food journal with detailed notes after consuming superfoods can help determine which your body processes easier.
Lucky for you ChocoVivo has some great superfood mixes that you can integrate into your diet. In our Nut Butters you can find a healthy helping of nuts and cacao. If you like Chocolate Bars, we have a variety of bars that will incorporate in-season superfoods such as ginger, blueberries, and a variety of nuts to help you eliminate those pesky damaged oxidizing agents in your body. Cacao for health.