Top 6 Anti-Aging Nutrients for Longer Life

This is a candid interview with nutritionist and fitness trainer, Jayson Hunter, RD, CSCS:

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Jim Labadie:  Jayson, there is a lot of confusion as to what Antioxidants are and how they can help us?  What are Free Radicals and Antioxidants?

Jayson Hunter:  Well, our bodies are made of atoms and these atoms need a full outer shell of electrons to be happy, peaceful atoms.  When this happens, they tend to not enter into chemical reactions and just enjoy life.

Those atoms that do NOT have a full outer shell of electrons are considered unstable and unhappy.  These unstable atoms are called Free Radicals.

When free radicals are in the body, they attempt to steal electrons from whatever molecules that happen to be around them.  So, then that molecule becomes a free radical now.  This process will just keep happening over and over.

In moderation, these free radicals are not bad because as our body performs the many functions it has to perform each and every day, these free radicals will be created.  It is just a part of the process.  The problem lies in the amount of free radicals that can start to accumulate and get too high.  This is where you can run into major problems and research has linked numerous diseases and health issues to these free radicals.

A common type of free radical is something called oxygen free radicals.  These are oxygen atoms that are missing an electron.  A perfect example is a piece of metal that has rust on it. This is called oxidative stress and this will start to cause damage inside your body.

Jim:  So what causes Free Radicals?

Jayson:  Basically, anything that has to do with living can cause free radicals.  Any stress we put on our bodies can cause free radicals.  Other sources are polluted air, stressful events and  carcinogenic foods.  Even “healthy” activities can create free radicals, such as intense exercise.
I am sure you are now asking yourself why should we even exercise if there is damage we are causing.  My answer to you is because there is a way to neutralize these free radicals and make them harmless.

How do turn a free radical into a harmless cell you ask?  It is actually really simple.  You give it the extra electron that it is looking for.

Well, what supplies this extra electron?

That is easy too:  Antioxidants.

Antioxidants are any substance that can prevent or slow down the oxidation process.  Free radicals cause oxidation and antioxidants prevent oxidation so free radicals are essentially neutralized or deemed harmless.  Antioxidants will donate an electron to a free radical so that it becomes a stable oxygen molecule again.

Jim:  So what does ORAC have to do with all of this?  You see ORAC associated with these foods and supplements, but what does it mean?

Jayson:  ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. ORAC measures the ability of any substance to subdue oxygen free radicals in the test tube. To summarize, ORAC is a lab test that can measure the antioxidant activity of any substance and give it a number. The higher this ORAC number from the test, the stronger the antioxidant properties of that substance.

The National Institute on Aging developed the ORAC method and both the US Department of Agriculture and Brunswick Labs have been very instrumental in perfecting the ORAC testing procedure and testing various foods to determine ORAC levels.

The science behind ORAC is very in depth and can’t all be explained in this interview, but the basic premise is you want foods with greater antioxidant properties.  You should look for foods with high ORAC levels.  The USDA recommends that we consume 3,000-5,000 ORAC units a day.

In reality, only 80% of the population is consuming less than 1,000 ORAC units a day.  Now, if you were to follow the USDA recommended 5 fruits and vegetables a day motto, you would be getting around 1,750 units so that also proves that we don’t get even close to 5 fruits and vegetables a day.  It is probably more like 2 fruits and vegetables total in a day.

Fruits and vegetables tend to have the highest ORAC values.  Half a medium apple gives you a score of 218, 1 small banana is 221, and ¾ cup of blueberries gets you 2,400. And what about fresh Acai berry? Acai has an amazing 5,500 ORAC score.

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Fruits such as the Acai berry that are exposed to lots of intense sunlight see an enormous amount of ultra violet light. This UV light will cause free radicals to form in the fruit. The fruits will then develop high levels of anthocyanins because they have very strong antioxidants properties and can stop the free radical production.

The cool part is that the antioxidant properties of anthocyanins are still available even after they are eaten by another organism.  Fruits with bright pigmentation tend to have the great ORAC values as a result and are loaded with anthocyanins!  So, let’s discuss the real benefits of Acai berry since there are so many false claims in the news about this superfruit. 

This fruit has been featured on the Today show, Oprah, New York Times and everywhere else.  D. Perricone named the Acai berry as the #1 Superfood in the world.  For many they are calling it the miracle berry.  Then all the scam artists came out and started taking advantage of all this hype and selling acai berry for weight loss, when the research and science doesn’t support this claim.

Acai berry is one of the healthiest foods on the planet, but don’t assume it is a cure for everything that ails you.

Acai can be freeze dried and turned into a stable powder which has all the health benefits of the fresh Acai berry.  Acai berry has 10 times the antioxidant level of grapes and twice that of blueberries. Acai has 10 to 30 times the Anthocyanins of red wine.

Jim:  So, how can Acai berry help with all these health benefits?

Jayson:  Well, here are some quotes from the USDA website as they are initiating studies to look at the relation between high antioxidant foods and aging.

"Studies at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston suggest that consuming fruits and vegetables with a high-ORAC value may help slow the aging process in both body and brain."

Ronald L. Prior, the researcher for the USDA study went on to suggest that "the ORAC measure may help define the dietary conditions needed to prevent tissue damage."

Jim:  So, is Acai berry the only wonderful antioxidant nutrient?  What about green tea?

Jayson:  Green tea is another highly powerful antioxidant that you should be consuming.  The flavonoids which are called polyphenols in green tea act as antioxidants to neutralize the free radicals we talked about earlier that contribute to aging and chronic disease.

In green tea, there is a significant amount of something called catechins.  Catechins are a category of polyphenols and these catechins are epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG) and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).  EGCG makes up about 10-50% of the total catechin content and looks to be the most powerful of the catechins.  EGCG appears to be 25-100 times more potent than vitamins C and E.  Studies have also shown it to be effective in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.

Here is a list of alleged benefits of green tea:

EGCG found in green tea may block the mutation of cells and reduce cell damage.  It may also block the liver enzymes that convert pro-carcinogens into carcinogens (harmful cells).

Scientists have revealed that green tea is 10-100 times more potent than black tea and can block enzymes that cause cancer cells to grow.

Tea increases the blood’s antioxidant capacity.

Green tea has been shown to reduce damage to blood vessels in smokers.

Green tea’s polyphenols can boost white blood cells and might be an effective supplement to chemotherapy and radiation treatments that impact bone marrow and lower white blood cell count.

A cup of green tea may provide 10-40mg of polyphenols and has antioxidant activity greater than a serving of broccoli, spinach, carrots or strawberries.

Jim:  I have heard something about CoffeeBerry® forte which some believe to be as powerful as Acai berry and EGCG?

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Jayson:  Well, CoffeeBerry® forte research has shown benefits with consuming the whole coffee fruit which CoffeeBerry® forte is derived from.  CoffeeBerry® forte is full of phenolic acids and other healthy plant nutrients.

CoffeeBerry® forte is exceptionally rich in antioxidants because it grows in regions where the sun’s rays are strongest. As the plants mature, they develop these powerful antioxidants to protect them from damage caused by high doses of the sun’s radiation and the natural byproducts of photosynthesis.

A single 1 gram serving of CoffeeBerry® forte provides the same antioxidant power as about 459 fresh blueberries!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Aging at Tufts University measured the Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity (ORAC) of more than 40 fruits and vegetables.

Compared to the USDA’s measurements, a 1 gram serving of our CoffeeBerry® Forte Extract provides the same antioxidant free radical power as 459 fresh blueberries, 81 medium strawberries, 647 raspberries or 1015 grapes!

Coffee polyphenols:

• Neutralize toxic free radicals.
• Help protect against systemic oxidative stress.
• Help reduce oxidative diseases such as coronary heart disease, inflammation and possibly certain cancers.
• Provide health benefits associated with Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.

Jim:  What are our options to get the benefit from these powerful antioxidants?

Jayson:  We don’t feel that taking dozens of supplements every day is the best method to live a healthier life so we created Prograde Longevity so that the best of these powerful antioxidants could be combined into one product for ease of use.  Our main focus was to make sure the ORAC value which we talked about earlier was as high as possible.  So to give you an idea of the powerful potency of Longevity here are some numbers for you.

Prograde Longevity’s ORAC rating per 1 gram is 3646.

Compare this to 1 gram of:

Vitamin A:  1.25
Vitamin E:  1.25
Lutein: 6
Fish Oil: 8
Lycopene: 58
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So, if you want to maximize your ORAC potential you need to consume products such as Prograde Longevity.  It is the best source for powerful antioxidants and you don’t have to eat pounds and pounds of fruit.  As I mentioned earlier, the USDA recommended "5-a-day" fruit and vegetable servings will give you an ORAC score of about 1,750 units.

Even though I suggest you eat a minimum of 5 fruits and vegetables a day, the reality is most don’t. So, if you were to just take 1 serving of Prograde Longevity, your ORAC intake would almost equal 1750 ORAC units of 5 fruits and vegetables.  If you do eat a minimum of 5 fruits and vegetables a day and combine these with 1 serving of Prograde Longevity, you would have consumed over 3,000 ORAC units which meets the USDA’s minimum recommendation.

Take two servings of Prograde Longevity and your ORAC rating is close to the 1 gram serving we tested for Longevity ORAC potency of 3,646.  Combine that with a minimum of 5 fruits and vegetables and you are giving your body the best defense mechanism it can have.

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About Mark

About Mark

Mark Dilworth is a Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist and since 2006 he has owned Your Fitness University, Her Fitness Hut, My Fitness Hut, Sports Fitness Hut.

Mark has helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle changes that lead to better long-term health, which includes acceptable body fat and ideal body weight.He does not recommend fad diets, quick weight loss gimmicks, starvation diets, weight loss pills, fat burner supplements and the like.

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