Saturday October 9, 2021
Noni fruit is a powerful antioxidant in it's raw pulp form. But not all forms of noni are created equal. We should say Noni Fruit Leather is an antioxidant powerhouse however the same cannot be said for noni juice. You probably wonder why? Let us break it down for you.
First off let's learn about antioxidants and how they are measured.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are molecules that can prevent or slow damage to cells, known as oxidative stress caused by unbalanced levels of free radicals in your body.
Antioxidants are sometimes called “free-radical scavengers.”
What is a free radical?
A free radical is an unstable molecule that the body produces in response to environmental and lifestyle pressures. They can be internal pressures like inflammation or external pressures like pollution, UV exposure and cigarette smoke.
Free radicals aren’t all bad, they do play an important role in many biological processes including cell division, communication between cells and helping your body’s immune system defend against infection.
Free radicals become a concern when their levels become too high in your body causing damage to your cells and DNA. High levels of free radicals cause oxidative stress and may contribute to major health conditions including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. And they play a critical role in the aging process.
Where can we get antioxidants?
While your body has its own antioxidant defenses to help keep free radicals in check, it’s also important to eat plenty of antioxidant rich whole foods. Particularly plant-based whole foods like fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices.
The most powerful antioxidants are found in plants. Plants are exposed to long hours of UV light daily and therefore generate a large number of free radicals. Plants have a protection system consisting of naturally-occurring antioxidants that neutralize the free radicals and defend against cellular damage to the plant.
Types of antioxidants
There are three primary types of antioxidants: phytonutrients, vitamins, and enzymes. Within these, there are hundreds of different substances that can act as antioxidants.
Several vitamins, such as vitamins A, E and C and minerals like copper, zinc, iron, selenium and manganese are all effective antioxidants. Other notable antioxidants are beta-carotene, carotenoids, glutathione, coenzyme Q10, lipoic acid, flavonoids, phenols, polyphenols, phytoestrogens, and many more.
Benefits of Antioxidants
Whole Body Health Benefits
Antioxidants have the powerful ability to neutralize free radicals and thereby slow down the aging process and can decrease your odds of some diseases. Antioxidants may also boost your heart, brain, vision, and skin health
Antioxidant Skin Benefits
Antioxidants protect the skin by reducing and counteracting free radicals that through oxidative stress can wreak havoc on your skin. This oxidative stress breaks down collagen levels which leads to skin sagging, fine lines and wrinkles and triggers skin inflammation such as breakouts. Antioxidants combat the signs of aging and improve skin tone, texture and radiance.
How are antioxidants measured?
There are various laboratory tests that can measure the antioxidant levels in food. The ORAC unit (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), ORAC value or ORAC score is the most common test. It was developed by scientists at the National Institute of Health and Aging (NIH).
How much ORAC do I need?
The US Department of Agriculture has determined that a person should consume at least 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units per day, through foods and supplements.
When comparing ORAC ratings of foods it’s important to be especially mindful of quality and realistic to serving size.
Be aware that:
- Serving size matters: many spices like clove (1,078,700), oregano (175,295), cinnamon (131,420) and turmeric (102,700) have high ORAC values but are consumed in very small quantities
- Wet or dry weight matters: water dilutes potency
- Processing method matters: the specific variety, growing conditions and processing methods will cause the ORAC value to vary
High ORAC fruits and veggies at 100 grams
Acai (frozen) 15,402
How does Noni rank on the ORAC scale?
Noni Fruit Leather is an antioxidant powerhouse with an ORAC value of 340,000.
Why such a discrepancy? Noni juice is not only missing/lacking the solid fruit pulp which contains the majority of noni’s beneficial enzymes, vitamins and phytonutrients but noni juice is also fermented. Fermentation creates alcohol which further degrades noni’s value in liquid form.
ORAC value broken down by daily servings:
There is convincing evidence that including more plant-based, antioxidant-rich foods, herbs, and spices in one’s diet is effective in promoting health as well as lowering the risk of various age-related diseases.
What are your favorite antioxidant-rich foods? Let us know in the comments!