What is Free Radical Damage and Anti-Oxidants?

If I took an apple and cut it in half and left it out…what happens to it?  It turns brown right?  That’s basically free radical damage…rusting of the cells.  Once oxygen hits the apple it starts to go through oxidative damage.  Now, if I cut it in half and immediately coated the exposed areas with lemon, it won’t turn brown.  I learned this when I was a teenager working in catering.  We made the fruit salad then poured lemon juice to cover it.  I didn’t understand then what I know now.  Basically the anti-oxidants from the lemon (vitamin C etc.) protected the apple from free radical damage.

What is Your Immune System?

Immunology, the study of the immune system, is a complex subject which encompasses all of the cells, chemicals and organs that defend the body against disease: from cold and flu to allergies, from bone marrow to lymph nodes, and from leukemia to AIDS.

Did you know – Your immune system routinely kills cancers?  Your immune system is your body’s defence department. It is able to identify and destroy foreign invaders (bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites) before they cause harm to the body. Once detected, they are tagged for termination and eliminated by immune cells. The immune system battles cancer cells as well. When working optimally, the immune system can identify and eradicate abnormal cells – especially those made abnormal by a virus or carcinogen, before they become problematic.

What Is the ORAC Value in Food?

ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorbance capacity, or basically how many free radical scavengers are in a food.  The higher level of ORAC the higher anti-oxidant capacity.   It is essential to protect your body all year long through optimal immunity – not just during the traditional cold and flu season. Where to start? Begin with daily preventative measures by increasing foods high in ORAC and anti-oxidants.

What Foods and Supplements are Best to Supply High Anti-Oxidants and ORAC Value?

There are so many things that help keep the immune system strong and fight free radical damage.  Below is a list of foods high in ORAC and anti-oxidants:

Herbs have huge ORAC value and are much higher in the ORAC list than any foods.  Some of the highest would include: cloves, cinnamon, oregano,  garlic, cayenne pepper, turmeric, cocoa, cumin, parsley (dried), basil, ginger, sage and thyme to name a few


  • Berries are the highest on the ORAC list for fruit but most fruits are high in ORAC
  • Dark chocolate (yippee!)
  • Red wine (another yippee!)
  • Artichoke
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Most vegetables

There are simply too many foods to list.  For a full list of ORAC value in foods, click this link:  http://www.phytochemicals.info/list-orac-values.php

Vitamins and Supplements

There are many, many, many supplements available now that offer great anti-oxidant protection.  I make a protein shake every morning and add a powdered greens, powdered berries, fish oil and probiotics.  I couldn’t eat all day long and get the amount of nutrients that I get in my shake.  So, if you want to increase your anti-oxidants and protect your body against free-radical damage which causes major diseases including cancer, add the foods mentioned above and consider adding some of these supplements:

  • Superoxide dismutase (SOD)
  • Glutathione
  • Vitamin A, C, E, Selenium (ACES)
  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)
  • CoQ10 (Ubiquinone)
  • Resveratrol (Red wine extract)
  • Carotenoids (Beta carotene for example)
  • Astaxanthin
  • Green Tea

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