As we age our bodies begin to break down. One of the mechanisms of that break down is an increase in something called free radicals. These are molecules that scavenge the body literally breaking chemical bonds in biological structures.
Antioxidants are the natural counterbalance to this internal destruction. They are molecules that grab free radicals and turn them off, essentially neutralizing them. Our bodies produce their own internal antioxidants (Ex: Glutathione) but others we get from food. Eating foods and spices high in antioxidants is one of the strongest methods we have for reversing the signs of aging.
The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) score is a unit of measurement for antioxidant content which was originally developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Each item is measured in μ mol TE/100g to keep the values standardized across different sizes and weights. This list includes the ORAC scores for the top 10 highest foods and spices ever recorded.
Dragon’s Blood-Sap form the Croton lechleri tree has the highest recorded ORAC score to date: 2,897,110 μ mol TE/100g. In comparison black coffee, which is how most Americans get their daily antioxidant dose, has an ORAC score of 2,780 μ mol TE/100g. Not readily available as an oral supplement Dragon’s Blood has been studied in topical preparations.
Astaxanthin-A phytonutrient from marine microalgae Astaxanthin has the second highest ORAC score ever recorded. Wild sockeye salmon has a high amount of Astaxanthin because of the microalgae it consumes in the ocean. Supplement companies concentrate it and provide it in pill and powder form. It has been studied for its powerful anti-aging and skin rejuvenation effects, boosting collagen and protecting against UV induced free radical damage.
Triphala Powder-Also known as triphala churna, is a powder of medicinal herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It consists of a blend of three different fruits; amla berries, haritaki, and vibhitaki. Each of these fruits has a high ORAC score on it’s own. When combined together they have a synergistic effect and powerful combined strength.
Coffee Cherry Powder-Derived from the fruit of the coffee bean plant. Typically the fruit is discarded and the inner bean is what is used to make coffee. Now the fruit is discovering a resurgence of interest as it has powerful antioxidants of its own, far outweighing its delicious bean.
Sumac Bran-A high-tannin, gluten free, variety of sorghum. Sorghum is a genus of numerous grasses, cultivated for grain and animal feed around the world.
Ground Cloves-Cloves are the aromatic dried flower buds of a tree in the Myrtaceae family. Cloves are native to the Maluku islands in Indonesia and used as a spice in cuisines all over the world.
Indian Gooseberry-Also known as amla berries these light-green colored berries are produced by a tree (Phyllanthus emblica) native to subtropical South and Southeast Asia. Not very well known in the west this fruit has the highest antioxidant score of any berry on the planet (not related to westen gooseberries).
Oregano-Used as a spice around the world oregano is high in antioxidant activity, due to a high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids. Also a powerful antimicrobial it has been studied for its inability to fight off intestinal bugs.
Bacopa Powder-Also known as brahmi, this herb is used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is also gaining popularity as a powerful nootropic, a remedy that enhances brain function.
Rosemary-Rosemary is an aromatic evergreen shrub used as a spice in culinary traditions around the world. Rosemary contains a number of potentially biologically active compounds, including antioxidants carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid. Other bioactive compounds include camphor (up to 20% in dry rosemary leaves), caffeic acid, ursolic acid, betulinic acid, rosmaridiphenol and rosmanol.