What are super foods?
Super foods are certain foods that are included on the list of ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity) Food Chart.
List Of Superfoods. One of the things that make a food a superfood is the amount of antioxidants it contains (measured in Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity – ORAC). High ORAC value is one of the several requirements for a food to qualify as a superfood. Below you will find the charts for the amount of ORAC in certain foods, some of which are foods that boost immune system and are on our list of superfoods.
ORAC Fruit Chart
* while pecan nuts, walnuts and ginger root are not fruits, we have added them to the fruit chart because of their high ORAC values, and as a comparison with fruit.
ORAC Spice Chart
ORAC Vegetable Chart
If we want to understand the importance of consuming a variety of foods that boost immune system we must first understand some of the basic nutrient interactions. The following list is a short list of how some nutrients interact and should give you an idea of some of the complex processes that occur in the body:
- Glutathione recycles vitamins C and E and puts them back to work as antioxidants.
- Cells do not produce Glutathione without the precursor amino acid components: glutamate, glycine and cysteine.
- Low intracellular Glutathione levels cause the cell’s death.The conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A depends on the availability of vitamin C, zinc and thyroid hormones while vitamin C, E and selenium enhance the function of beta-carotene.
- Magnesium is necessary for conversion of vitamin B1 (thiamine) into its active form, and vitamin C helps improve thiamine absorption.
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is necessary for the activation of vitamin B6.
- Vitamins B6, B2 and iron are necessary for the conversion of tryptophan (an essential amino acid) to vitamin B3 (niacin).
- Tryptophan is a biochemical precursor for serotonin which in turn can be converted to melatonin.
- Folic acid requires vitamin B12, niacin and vitamin C to be converted to its active form.
- Vitamin C helps reduce folic acid excretion.
- Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron and improves the stability of vitamin E.
- Vitamin B6 deficiency reduces vitamin B12 absorption.
- Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus.
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is necessary for the synthesis of vitamin D.
- Vitamin E is necessary for the action of vitamin A and regulates the levels of that vitamin.
- Potassium decreases urinary loss of calcium, etc.The intricacies and interdependency of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, micronutrients and macronutrients is much farther reaching than this short list, but hopefully this list is exhaustive enough to drive home how important it is to maintain a diverse diet.Most foods that boost immune system are those that are good sources of one or two particular vitamins, minerals or nutrients, so eat a diversity of foods. For the immune system to function properly and be able to defend your body against pathogens, it is very important to supply the body with a sufficient amount of all vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids. Immune health and proper immune response cannot be obtained without all these essentials.