What Powers Superfoods

Superfoods are categorized as such because of their high antioxidant powers. But why exactly do we need antioxidants?

An antioxidant is a substance that reduces cellular damage. Our bodies produce some antioxidants naturally. Certain fruits and vegetable will also be an excellent source of antioxidants.

Will that be enough or do we need to further boost our antioxidant intake? Today with our fast food society and soil that is nutrient deficient it makes it very difficult to obtain all the necessary nutrients from diet alone.

Oxidation occurs when free radicals attack our body and damage cells. Free radicals are produced by natural biological processes or introduced via toxins, pollution, tobacco smoke or other contaminants into our environment – like car emissions. A molecule becomes a free radical when it loses one of its electrons. It becomes unstable and highly reactive. This unstable molecule “oxidizes” any nearby stable molecule, thereby creating a chain reaction, resulting in even more free radicals. Those chain reactions can seriously damage the cells in our bodies which may lead to the development of some serious illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, cancer and age related illnesses. Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables help to neutralize free radicals in our bodies.

How is it measured?

Antioxidants are measured in ORAC units (short for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity). The more free radicals a substance can absorb, the higher it’s ORAC score. Studies shows that our bodies need around 5000 ORAC units per day to significantly impact antioxidant activity and reduce the damage caused by free radicals. One serving of fruits or vegetables (around half a cup) will provide approximately 500 ORAC units. Therefore if you don't eat enough fruits and vegetables a day you don't get enough antioxidants to impact your health.