For More Antioxidant Benefits, Eat Your Flaxseed!

Image: Bowl of yogurt with fruits and flax seed on top

One of the reasons fruits and vegetables are so good for you is because they’re packed with antioxidants. But new research shows fruits and veggies aren’t the only antioxidant game in town. Now you can add flaxseeds to the list of foods with proven antioxidant protection!*


Chances are you’ve seen the word “antioxidant” on food labels. Antioxidant benefits include fighting free radicals — scientifically known as oxidants. Free radicals are a problem because they can damage healthy cells. When the number of free radicals in the body outweighs the number of antioxidants, the body enters a state of oxidative stress. Many researchers believe the aging process is largely due to oxidative stress.


Fortunately, a new study soon to be published in The Journal of Food Science, shows flaxseeds combat oxidative stress, adding to the long list of health benefits.*

The study, performed on rats, looked at the effects of two different flax products on oxidative stress: a lignan isolated from flax called SDG and plain flaxseed oil.[i],[ii] In order to wreak havoc with the rats’ metabolism, researchers fed half of them a diet rich in fructose. The other half was fed normal rat chow.

Sure enough, the fructose-laden diet messed with the rats’ metabolism and generated enough free radicals to create oxidative stress. The good news is that both flax products helped buffer the negative effects of the unhealthy diet.* When rats ate the high-fructose chow, but were administered one of the flax products, they were better able to maintain normal blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar compared to the animals who ate the high-fructose diet with no flax.*


Importantly though, SDG was more effective at strengthening overall antioxidant defenses than flaxseed oil.* Why does this matter? Flaxseed oil contains many beneficial compounds, but the oily part of the seed does not contain lignans like SDG, so regular flaxseed oil doesn’t either. As a result, eating whole flaxseeds will offer robust antioxidant protection, but taking a flaxseed oil supplement won’t — unless you choose a flaxseed oil with added lignans.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. 


[i] IFT Weekly. 2017 Nov 1.

[ii] Pilar B, et al. J Food Sci. 2017 Oct 30 [Epub ahead of print].