Famed for its antioxidant properties, vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient that has been known to boost the immune system, fight off foreign bacteria and viruses, and nourish the eyes and blood. Antioxidants, as you may know, protect cells in the body from free radical damage. While free radicals are natural compounds that are produced by the body as it converts food into energy, excess exposure to free radicals from the environment, e.g. air pollution, cigarette smoke, and ultraviolet light, are very harmful to the body. But vitamin E has so many more jobs in the body than protecting the body from free radicals.
A vitamin E-rich diet has been associated with a healthier heart, reduced chest pains, and lower risks of high blood pressure or blocked/hardened arteries. Vitamin E’s benefits don’t end there, though. The body needs vitamin E for many enzymatic activities, neurological processes, and for the healthy function of several organs. The amount of vitamin E you need each day is typically 15mg for the average teenager or adult, but it can vary depending on health conditions, age, and whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
What Foods Contain Vitamin E?
While you may be used to seeing vitamin E in fortified foods, vitamin E is easily obtained by eating a combination of the following foods.
- Almonds (1 cup contains 32.98mg)
- Sunflower seeds (1 cup contains 33.41mg)
- Avocado (1 whole one contains 2.68mg)
- Hazelnuts (1 cup contains 20.29mg)
- Wheat Germ (1 uncooked cup contains 18mg)
- Kiwi (1 medium one contains 1.1mg)
- Spinach (2 cups uncooked contain 1.9mg)
- Mango (1 whole one contains 3.02mg)
- Butternut squash (1 cup cooked contains 2.64mg)
- Broccoli (1 cup cooked contains 2.4mg)
People who regularly consume vitamin E-rich foods have been known to experience the following health benefits.
One of the primary benefits of vitamin E is that it strengthens capillary walls to improve skin elasticity and moisture. This helps to improve the appearance of the skin, which is why vitamin E is sometimes referred to as the anti-aging nutrient. According to several studies, vitamin E may help to decrease signs of eczema, acne, and even sunburn, which is one of the leading causes of skin cancer.
People often ignore the signs of hormonal imbalance. These signs can include weight gain, allergies, anxiety, fatigue, or urinary tract infections. Playing an integral role in balancing the nervous and endocrine systems, vitamin E helps to establish a healthy balance of hormones.
Vitamin E is one of the most common ingredients in hair care products, and for good reason. Known to promote healthy circulation in the scalp, vitamin E works to prevent flakiness and encourages shinier, hydrated hair. While eating vitamin E-rich foods can benefit hair health, applying a few drops of vitamin E oil to your hair can help avoid dull or dry looking hair.
Cholesterol is naturally produced by the liver and is necessary for healthy cell, hormone, and nerve function. Balanced cholesterol levels are healthy and normal, but cholesterol can oxidize and become dangerous. According to numerous dietary studies, vitamin E helps to fight the oxidation of cholesterol. This ability is attributed to the fact that vitamin E fights free radical damage, which can cause cholesterol oxidation. Additionally, vitamin E positively affects cardiovascular health by slowing the progression of atherosclerosis (the hardening of arteries).
Beneficial For People With Alzheimer’s Disease
Many studies have found that the tocotrienols in vitamin E may protect people from developing Alzheimer’s disease. For those who already have Alzheimer’s, consuming vitamin E-rich foods may slow the rate at which memory declines. While more research is needed, consuming vitamin E with vitamin C may reduce the risk of certain types of dementia.