One of the latest trends in weight management is the O2 Diet. Unlike most diets that have you counting calories and depriving yourself of food, this eating plan uses the ORAC scale to determine what foods should be the basis of your nutritional core.
What is the ORAC scale?
Oxygen radical absorbance capacity, ORAC for short, measures the level of free radical-fighting antioxidants in a given food (1). On most charts, the values for items are given in terms of 100 grams, however, and not per serving. Therefore, the actual antioxidant levels tend to be inflated in many market items that advertise high ORAC values.
Many ground herbs and spices have high readings on the ORAC scale, but the antioxidant capacity is listed per 100 grams. For example, clove oil has one of the highest values on the ORAC scale at 1,078,700 µTE/100 g; yet, most people would not consume 100 g of clove oil at one time.
For a more precise estimate on antioxidant values, it’s best to look at whole foods such as berries, fruits, vegetables — items that would probably be consumed in amounts over 100 g. Wild blueberries (1 cup, capacity 13427), red kidney beans (1/2 cup dried beans, capacity 13259) and pecans (1 oz, capacity 5095) are just a few produce items that possess high ORAC values.
Most fresh produce items, especially fruits that have oily peels (i.e., lemons, oranges), are deemed exceptional for the O2 diet. Of course, whether it is truly credible or just another fad remains to be seen. Yet, there is one point that many doctors and nutritionists agree on in regard to the diet: any meal plan that focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables is not going to do anybody any harm.
Summer’s right around the corner
Now that the weather is warmer and the sunshine has returned, it’s time to get outdoors and see what your city has to offer. On the weekend, one of the best family-friendly venues to visit is the farmer’s market. With local produce, you know what you’re buying is fresh, but you’re also putting money back into your community.
Ybor City Fresh Market
Open every Saturday from 9-3 (summer hours 9-1), year-round
Located in Centennial Park, the Ybor City Fresh Market offers locally-grown produce, regional arts and crafts, performers and demonstrations. On the 1st Saturday of the month, the Fresh Market also hosts Artwalk, a tour of the arts in Ybor City.
For more information, call 813-241-2442.
Tampa Bay Farmer’s Market
Open 7 days; Mon-Sat 8-7 and Sun 8-6
623 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa, 33609
Offering fresh fruits, vegetables, cut plants, gifts and even firewood. For a complete price list, visit http://www.tampabayfarmersmarket.com.
For more information, call 813-876-7888.
Other community markets:
Sweetwater Sunday Organic Market
6942 W. Comanche Avenue
Open Nov-May, Noon-4 pm
Tampa Downtown Market
Lykes Gaslight Square Park
400 and 500 Block Franklin Street and
200 and 300 Madison Street
Tampa, Florida 33602
Open Fridays Oct-May, 10 am-2 pm