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Total antioxidant capacity is the term used to describe the ability of antioxidants in different foods to clean harmful free radicals in the blood and cells. Often referred to by the acronym TAC, it takes into account the amount of water-based and fat-based antioxidants present in food. Understanding this figure helps individuals decide which foods offer the greatest antioxidant benefit.
While certain foods, such as berries and artichokes, are deemed to be very high in certain types of antioxidants, researchers have concluded that this fact alone is not reliable for understanding the health benefits offered in these foods. Although these foods are known to help when losing weight, their credibility as antioxidants remain to be proven. This is because other factors must be considered, such as where foods were grown, how well they are absorbed into the body and how the body will eventually use them. This is actually why you can't just work with one professional regarding your health. You may have to consult a renal nutritionist if you have problems absorbing certain nutrients. Scientists are, therefore, working to measure and classify each fruit and vegetable according to their total antioxidant capacity in an effort to give consumers a better idea of which foods offer the best defense against free radicals. Consumers can consult a nutritionist to know if intake of these items will give them the nutritional benefits they expect.
Fruits and vegetables cultivated in one geographic location often tend to have a different capacity from fruits and vegetables grown in another. Environmental components largely contribute to TAC, and scientists maintain that such must also be factored into the process of defining the figure for foods before that information is released to the public. Some experts believe that this information should be offered regionally instead of globally to provide a more accurate depiction of a food’s antioxidant benefit to consumers living in a certain area.
Experts sometimes differ on the ways in which total antioxidant capacity is measured. One method in particular has gotten a good deal of attention and is considered to be one of the most reliable measurement scales. Known as the oxygen radical absorbance capacity scale (ORAC), researchers consider this method to be the most accurate.
Complicating the process even further, however, is the fact that each person’s body absorbs antioxidants differently. That's why a sports nutritionist might make a different recommendation from a pediatric nutritionist. In each individual food, chemical reactions to other components in the food will also affect its TAC. With so many factors to consider, the figure for most foods and how they will benefit each person may frequently vary from one person to the next and from one part of the world to the next. This also applies to the weight loss capabilities of these food items.