Goji Berries and ORAC

ORAC is the standard test, adopted by the US Department of Agriculture, to measure the potency of antioxidants in food. The test was developed by Dr. Guohua Cao, a physician and chemist who worked at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, Maryland. The ORAC test, though not the be all and end all of antioxidant testing, gives a good idea of the free-radical-destroying potential of a given food. It does this by measuring the time an antioxidant takes to react as well as the capacity of antioxidants within the sample food. It combines these elements into one measurement that is commonly expressed in terms of a 100 gram sample.

It has been suggested that humans should consume about 5000 ORAC units a day for maximum benefits. Unfortunately, most people do not eat nearly enough vegetables and fruit, or the right type of vegetables and fruit, to achieve this. For example, to get your daily ORAC dose from apples, you would need to eat 2,294 grams of apple (or about 22 apples). However, as you can see from the below chart, eating just 20 grams of goji berries will cover you.

It is important to remember, however, that there is a lot more to measuring a food's antioxidant capcity than ORAC. Since different antioxidants have different effects, it is still important to eat a variety of foods (including apples) with high antioxidant levels. For example, although strawberries have a higher ORAC score than spinach, spinach has been shown to be more effective than strawberries in boosting blood antioxidant scores. So, although eating a large amount of antioxidants is always a plus, it is important to eat a variety of healthy foods, not only for their antioxidant levels, but for their other nutritional properties as well.


Fruits ORAC Score

Grams Needed to
Reach DRI

Goji Berries 25,300 20
Black Raspberries 7,700 65
Prunes 5,770 87
Bilberry 4,460 112
Pomegranates 3,307 151
Raisins 2,830 177
Blueberries 2,400 208
Red Raspberries 2,400 208
Blackberries 2,036 246
Strawberries 1,540 325
Noni Fruit 1,506 332
Plums 949 527
Oranges 750 667
Cherries 670 746
Red grapes 739 677
Pink grapefruit 495 1010
White grapefruit 460 1087
Apples 218 2294
Banana 210 2381
Pears 134 3731
Watermelon 100 5000
Vegetables ORAC Score Grams Needed to
Reach DRI
Garlic 1939 258
Spinach 1,770 282
Steamed spinach 909 550
Yellow squash 1,150 435
Brussels sprouts 980 510
Alfalfa sprouts 930 538
Broccoli 880 568
Broccoli flowers 890 562
Beets 840 595
Avocado 782 639
Red bell pepper 710 704
Baked beans 503 994
Onions 450 1111
Corn 400 1250
Peas, Frozen 375 1333
Eggplant 390 1282
Potato 300 1667
Sweet Potato 295 1695
Cabbage 295 1695
Cauliflower 385 1299
Carrot 210 2381
Tomato 195 2564
Cucumber 60 8333
Other ORAC Score Grams Needed to
Reach DRI
Dark Chocolate 13,120 38.1
Milk Chocolate 6,740 74.2
Rooibos tea (200ml) 750 133