Thursday, January 25, 2007

What are Your Antioxidant Levels?

Mine are at 31,000. Does that sound impressive? Well, I found out they should be at 50,000 to 100,000. Of course, the company who sponsored the screening will let me pay big bucks to up those numbers by buying their product. (I'm considering it, although I don't get into taking lots of pills to "make me healthier.")

I found all of this out at my children's school's science fair. It was obvious that the child with this particular project didn't do most of the thinking for the event; nevertheless, I found the information interesting, so I stuck around.

I was interested in the foods that provide the most antioxidants, and thought you might be, too.

* Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC units per 100 grams) in parentheses (I sound smart, huh? I found these numbers here.)

Prunes (5770)
Raisins (2830)
Blueberries (2400)
Blackberries (2036)
Strawberries (1540)
Raspberries (1220)
Plums (949)
Oranges (750)
Red Grapes (739)
Cherries (670)

Kale -- anyone know a good way to use this? (1770)
Spinach (1260)
Brussel Sprouts (980)
Alfalfa Sprouts (980)
Broccoli Florets (930)
Beets (890)
Red Bell Peppers (840)
Onions (710)
Corn (that one surprised me) (450)
Eggplant (390)

The display provided a list of other foods, but the link didn't work. That list included kidney and pinto beans as well. (Whooda thunk?) I've heard that chocolate is a good source of antioxidants (Hershey must love that research), so I'm including chocolate on my list of things to eat more of! (Waha.) I'm thinking of trying to infuse our diet with a few more of these things and getting my "levels" tested in a month or two. Or I suppose I could save the hassle and just buy the pills.... :) ( I sense an experiment of my own in the making....?)

(UPDATE: Chocolate (oh, baby) tops the list of ORAC units at 13120 for dark and 6,740 for milk. Wahoo!)

Source for these data: U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

p.s. 'Nother update: This site has more foods listed, and, interestingly, some beat the ones above. So here's Web MD's view on this topic. (I was told last nite that not all antioxidants are created equal; some are more fundamental than others.?? I'm no expert, and always a bit skeptical when there is a product hiding behind someone's motives, so I'll go with the list for some good info for now.)

Small Red Bean (dried), Half cup (13727)
Wild blueberry, 1 cup (13427)
Red kidney bean (dried), Half cup (13259) (Well, chocolate still comes in pretty high!)
Pinto bean, Half cup (11864)
Blueberry (cultivated), 1 cup (9019)
Cranberry, 1 cup (whole), 8983
Artichoke (cooked), 1 cup (hearts) (7904)
Blackberry, 1 cup, 7701
Dried Prune, Half cup (7291)
Raspberry, 1 cup (6058)
Strawberry, 1 cup (5938)
Red Delicious apple, One (5900)
Granny Smith apple, One (5381)
Pecan, 1 ounce (5095)
Sweet cherry, 1 cup (4873)
Black plum, One (4844)
Russet potato (cooked), One (4649)
Black bean (dried), Half cup (4181)
Plum, One (4118)
Gala apple, One (3903)

So, there you go. I think it's interesting to see the comparative numbers, and to think of ways to use a variety of foods to increase antioxidant levels. Of course, foods not on this list have their own value as well (like whole grains, or bananas). Gotta love reinforcement for a balanced, Word-of-Wisdom consistent diet. :)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Right Road?

There are some people who knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up, even as children. I was not one of those people. I knew I wanted to go to college, and thought I had a good direction when I began, but it didn't take long to realize that my plans weren't for me -- but I didn't know what should replace them. I felt a bit directionless, even purposeless at times.

I started as a Computer Science major. From there, I fluctuated between Family Science and Statistics, considering basically everything in between. (I ruled out business because I KNEW I wasn't interested in that. I'll have to share that story for another day: I got my Master's degree in business!)

Long story short, my first semester of my junior year, I finally took a leap and declared Psychology as my major. I was petrified that I would hit yet another brick wall in my gut as I had with so many other directions I had tested. I was worried about doing what was "right" for me (what "God wanted me to do"). All I wanted to know is if this was "right."

I sought a blessing from my dad. It started off rather generic. I remember him telling me that I could seek direction in prayer as needed. (OK, I knew that. I really, really wanted an answer NOW, though!) Then it happened. I could tell that the Spirit took over and my dad told me that the decision I had made was good and right. (Woo hoo!) BUT--and this was a BIG but that has stuck with me through nearly two decades--he told me that (I can hear my dad's voice saying words like these): "The Lord would have you know that there are many paths you could take and still accomplish your work on the earth." Wow. What a lesson that was. This WAS a good decision, but it wasn't the ONLY right decision for me.

Now, I'm not sharing this to say that there aren't some times in life when there isn't a direction that is capital-R Right. In addition, I believe that there may be paths in our lives that might be Better than others. I believe with all of my heart that the Lord can and will guide us in our decisions along the way if we seek His help in faith. But I have never forgotten that blessing. For all my desire to "do what is right" and to follow the Lord's will, sometimes He doesn't have One Right Path that I Must Take Or Else.

When I get the chance to talk to young college students, as I sometimes do, I always share the following quote with them (one from my kinda-oldies-but-goodies collection:)

In the past, I have tried to figure out whether I should go into business or into teaching, or into the arts, or whatever. As I have begun to proceed along one path, having more or less gathered what facts I could, I have found that if that decision was wrong or was taking me down the wrong path – not necessarily an evil one, but one that was not right for me – without fail, the Lord has always let me know just this emphatically: ‘That is wrong; do not go that way. That is not for you.’

On the other hand, there may have been two or three ways that I could have gone, any one of which would have been right and would have been in the general area providing the experience and means whereby I could fulfill the mission that the Lord had in mind for me. Because He knows we need the growth, He generally does not point and say, ‘Open that door and go twelve yards in that direction, then turn right and go two miles….’ But, if it is wrong, He will let us know – we will feel it for sure. I am positive of that. So, rather than saying, ‘I will not move until I have this burning in my heart,’ let us turn it around and say, ‘I will move unless I feel it is wrong; and if it is wrong, then I will not do it.’ By eliminating all of these wrong courses, very quickly, you will find yourself going in the direction that you ought to be going, and then you can receive the assurance: ‘Yes, I am going in the right direction. I am doing what my Father in Heaven wants me to do because I am not doing the things He does not want me to do.’ And you can know that for sure. That is part of the growth process and part of accomplishing what our Father in Heaven has in mind for us. (John H. Groberg, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1979)

Monday, January 15, 2007

I have a dream...

(by JJ, my dear son)....

That all the wars will stop. I hope that there will be more peace. I also hope that everyone will be frends [sic]. I hope that all who are sick will get better. And all those who have trobles [sic] that they will be solved. And that everyone will be happy. :) [Smileyface in original.]

Perhaps yet another example of why we are told to be as a child....