The 2010 USDA database of food ORAC values was one of the first public references on the antioxidant value of foods. While it provided guidance as to what spices, seeds, berries and other whole food ingredients may be useful as natural antioxidants, analytical limitations and food industry misuse resulted in its withdrawal. However, the need for a point of reference on the antioxidant potential of food components remains. This presentation gave an overview of antioxidant assays presently in use, and of high-antioxidant whole foods and food ingredients. Practical factors influencing the antioxidant potency of foods and food ingredients during food growing, processing and storage were considered. In addition, important factors influencing the selection, extraction and incorporation of plant-based food ingredients in functional foods was addressed. Furthermore, as oxidative stress plays an important role in the development of many pathological conditions the presentation also touched on a battery of in vitro assays that have been developed to evaluate the antioxidant activity of whole foods and food ingredients, with the ORAC assay proving to be the most useful due to its diagnostic relevance.
Jin Ji, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer & Executive Vice President, Brunswick Laboratories, Inc. speaking on “Antioxidant Potential Plant-Based Ingredients” at the 2015 Clean Label Conference.