We usually don’t think about it much, but Vitamin E is one vitamin that shouldn’t be ignored. Thankfully, there are a handful of Vitamin E rich foods, ranging from leafy greens, to nuts and seeds and a handful of fruit and starchy vegetables.
What is Vitamin E?
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is required for the proper function of many cells and organs in the body. It protects the body from damage caused by free radicals, and plays an essential role in slowing down the effects of aging.
The body needs vitamin E to keep the immune system strong as well as the skin and eyes healthy. It is also important in the formation of red blood cells, and allows the body to use vitamin K more efficiently.
The generic name for vitamin E is “tocopherol” and is available in four different forms.
Health Benefits of Vitamin E
The top health benefits of consuming vitamin E are as follows:
• Cardiovascular Protection:
Vitamin E protects LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) from free radical damage. When cholesterol is damaged by free radicals, it becomes oxidized, and accumulates in blood vessel walls, which eventually leads to atherosclerosis. Large health surveys have found that diets rich in vitamin E (such as the Mediterranean diet) protect the heart and prevent cardiovascular disease.
• Neurological Protection:
Vitamin E has been found to slow mental and functional decline in those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
• Eye Protection:
Vitamin E reduces progression of age-related macular degeneration and cataract formation.
• PMS Relief:
Studies have found that taking a pill of vitamin E can help ease the pain of PMS by up to two-thirds by making the body less sensitive to a hormone that causes PMS in the first place.
• Free Radical Protection:
Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that protects against damage to fats that line every cell in our body. If these cell membranes are damaged (without protection from vitamin E and other important antioxidants), cell function becomes compromised, which accelerates the aging process.
• Skin and Hair Enhancing Benefits:
Vitamin E promotes circulation of blood to the scalp, and nourishes the hair follicle. It also can be used topically, in oil form, to treat scars, acne, and wrinkles, because it speeds up cell regeneration (thus creating an anti-aging effect, too!).
Because vitamin E is fat-soluble, it means that it is stored in the body for long periods of time (just like vitamins A, D and K). This also means that we don’t require a lot to keep levels balanced. For anyone over the age of 14, around 15mg/day is sufficient.
One of the best ways to get vitamin E is to eat a variety of sources of plant-based foods every day. Specifically, this list includes (but is certainly not limited to):
– Swiss Chard (3.3 mg / 1 cup)
– Kale (1.11 mg / 1 cup)
– Spinach (3.74 mg / 1 cup)
– Mustard Greens (2.5 mg / 1 cup)
– Red Chilli (2.06 mg / 2 tsp)
– Pistachios and Peanut Butter (3.04 mg / 1/4 cup)
– Almonds (6.03 mg / 1/4 cup)
– Hazelnuts (4.3 mg / 1/4 cup)
– Pine Nuts (3.2 mg / 1/4 cup)
– Raw Seeds (sunflower seeds – 12.31 mg / 1/4 cup; hemp seeds – 6 mg / 100 g)
– Avocado (3.11 mg / 1 cup)
– Tomatoes (0.97 mg / 1 cup)
– Taro Root (2.38 mg / 100 g)
– Papaya (1 mg / 1 cup)
– Dried Apricots (5.6 mg / 1 cup)
– Parsley (0.4 mg / 1 cup)
– Red Bell Peppers (2.4 mg / 1 cup)
– Kiwi and Mango (2 mg / 1 cup)
– Turnip Greens (1.6 mg / 1 cup)
– Broccoli (0.7 mg / 1 cup)