Maximize Vitamin E Intake with Diet

Vitamin E: A Fat-Soluble Vitamin

Vitamin E is the name for a group of fat-soluble compounds that have distinctive antioxidant properties.  The type of vitamin E that our bodies most easily absorb and transport is called alpha-tocopherol.  Nuts, seeds and vegetable oils are among the best sources for alpha-tocopherol.  While alpha-tocopherol is the preferred form of vitamin E because it is better used by our bodies, it is not the most common form of vitamin E that we eat.  Most vitamin E in American diets is in the form of gamma-tocopherol, which is found in soybeans, canola, corn and vegetable oils.

A Protective Anti-inflammatory: The Role of Vitamin E

Antioxidants protect cells from the damage of molecules called free radicals.  Free radicals damage cells and may contribute to the development of heart disease and certain cancers.  Some examples of how free radicals are formed include during digestion of certain foods, and environmental exposures to cigarette smoke, pollution and UV rays.  Since vitamin E can help prevent the buildup of these harmful molecules, scientists are looking into understanding if vitamin E supplementation can play a role in preventing chronic disease.  At this time it is best to try to get your vitamin E through foods.  Interestingly, Vitamin E is also involved in immune function.  Studies show it can play a role in gene expression and help keep epithelial cells and blood vessels healthy.

Recommendations for vitamin E intake:  15 milligrams (22.4 IUs) daily over age 14 for men and women.

Highest Vitamin E containing foods: Wheat Germ Oil, Enriched Bran Flakes, Sunflower Oil, Safflower Oil, Hazelnut Oil, Sunflower Seeds Swiss Chard, Spinach, Kale, Mustard Greens, Almonds, Hazelnuts

Micronutrient Infographic

A certain few friends from college would poke fun at my putting this on my website because in school I created a massive vitamin and mineral chart (sources, recommended intake level, upper limits, consequences of deficiency, etc.) and put it on my ceiling to study. So here's a nice infographic with sources of vitamins and minerals listed as well as the body systems these micronutrients individually support.

Blue Ribbon Vegetables

As a Registered Dietitian I find that my counseling often emphasizes adding vegetables and fruits in.  Although it sounds simpler that it is, the truth is that it is easier for us to eliminate the bad by utilizing the good.  This leads to satisfying and nutritious meals.  Not to mention, a pattern of intake that our bodies were meant to experience.

Take a look at all of the wonderful nutrients you can get from the following foods.  Use this 'Blue Ribbon' produce in as many meals as possible!

Top Vegetables for Various Nutrients:

Vitamin A - Pumpkin, Collard Greens, Sweet Potato, Kale, Carrots

Vitamin C - Red Pepper, Oranges, Strawberries, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Broccoli

Vitamin K - Kale, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Collard Greens, Broccoli, Green Cabbage

Vitamins B1 and B2 - Peas, Spinach, Mushrooms

Vitamin B6 - Prunes, Banana, Sweet Red Pepper, Baked Potato, Spinach, Zucchini

Folate - Asparagus, Spinach, Cauliflower, Endive

Potassium - Baked Potato, Kale, Avocado, Sweet Potato, Cantaloupe, Bananas, Tomato, Cabbage

Phosphorus - Green Peas, Corn, Baked Potato, Broccoli

Magnesium - Spinach, Banana, Arugula, Pineapple, Swiss Chard

Manganese - Pineapple, Spinach, Blackberries, Strawberries, Peas