Although mainly advertised as a skin food, vitamin E has several important functions in our body. It acts as an antioxidant that protects our cell membranes from free radicals. It prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. It supports the formation of red blood cells, and it helps in the structural and functional maintenance of our skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscles. It also helps in the prevention of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
A deficiency in this vitamin can result to chronic liver disease, loss of vibration and position sense, muscle weakness, ptosis (drooping of the eyelid), and abnormal weight loss and delayed growth especially in children.
How much do you need every day?
The NIH’s recommended daily allowance and suggested adequate intake for children and adults:
• children 1–3 years, 6 mg (9 IU)
• children 4–8 years, 7 mg (10.4 IU)
• Children 9–13 years, 11 mg (16.4 IU)
• teens 14–18 years, 15 mg (22.4 IU)
• adults, 15 mg (22.4 IU)
What are the best natural sources of vitamin E?
To avoid vitamin E deficiency, include the following foods in your diet:
Steamed or fried, tofu contains just the right amount of nutrient you need for a day. A hundred gram of silken tofu provides 5.6 mg of vitamin E, so you only need to consume more than a quarter to meet your dietary requirement.
Want a heart-friendly snack? Almond is perfect to munch on. An ounce of almond contains 7.3 mg of vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol, helping you keep cancer and heart disease at bay.
Spinach and other leafy greens, such as Swiss chard, turnip greens, collards and kale contain just the right amount of vitamin E that children and adults need for a day. A hundred gram of cooked spinach provides 2.1 mg of the vitamin, while a 10 oz. pack of raw spinach offers 5.8 mg of vitamin E.
While popularly used as a facemask, avocado can do greater for your skin when eaten. According to USDA, a whole avocado fruit contains 4.16 mg of vitamin E, and a half contains 2.08 mg of the vitamin.
This contains lots of free radical-fighting vitamin E, making it a valuable health oil. Just a tablespoon of safflower oil provides 4.6 mg of vitamin E, meeting a quarter of your daily vitamin requirement. You can consume the oil directly or use it with vinegar as an alternative to the cholesterol-laden salad dressing.
Two tablespoons of peanut butter gives 2.9 mg of vitamin E. So, why nut swap your regular mayo spread with a delicious and nutty peanut butter instead? Try snacking on dry, roasted peanuts as well.