Vitamins are essential for the functioning of our immune system and our brain. But what about vitamin E? According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient, which means it needs fat to be absorbed.
It mainly acts as an antioxidant, which fights free radicals. If free radicals build up, they can lead to cell damage and oxidative stress, which is a major contributor to chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer, according to research.
In the case of vitamin E, its antioxidant effects are particularly impressive. For example, it helps protect cell membranes from free radicals, which is essential to prevent cell damage. As nutritionist Maddie Pasquariello, MS, RDN, tells realsimple.com, its antioxidant properties also have “the ability to protect skin from sun damage while stabilizing the skin barrier.” But it doesn’t stop there: Vitamin E supports skin health by maintaining levels of collagen (the main structural protein in skin), as well as hair growth, says Pasquariello. This nutrient is also involved in immune function and proper blood circulation, according to the National Institutes of Health.
6 foods rich in vitamin E
Almonds are one of the highest sources of vitamin E, followed by hazelnuts, says Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, nutritionist and author of Eating from Our Roots: 80+ Healthy Home-Cooked Favorites from Cultures Around the World . “These nuts are also great sources of dietary fiber and heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats,” adds Feller. You can enjoy them as nut butters, which taste great on toast, in smoothies, or mixed into oatmeal, adds Marissa Meshulam, MS, RD, CDN, nutritionist and founder of MPM Nutrition .
The next time you crave something crunchy, look for seeds. Sunflower seeds are particularly rich in vitamin E, according to Meshulam. For this purpose, about ¼ cup is almost half the recommended daily amount. Nutrients found in sunflower seeds include iron, calcium, magnesium and fiber, Pasquariello explains. Sunflower seeds (and plant seeds in general) add flavor and texture to many dishes, including oatmeal, yogurt, salads and soups.
Nut and seed oils
Given that seeds and nuts contain vitamin E, it’s no surprise that their oils are just as important. According to Meshulam, sunflower oil and wheat germ oil are particularly rich in nutrients, although they have different applications. Sunflower oil “is a very stable oil, so it can be used in high-heat cooking,” she explains. Wheat germ oil can be used in salad dressings or drizzled over cooked dishes.
There’s a lot to love about leafy greens. They’re versatile, delicious, and packed with vitamin E, among many other powerful nutrients. Some of the best choices include spinach and Swiss chard. Even the leafy tops of beets contain this vitamin, giving you a great reason to use this vegetable. In general, leafy vegetables of any variety are easy to incorporate into dishes.
Avocados are another great source of vitamin E. “Other nutrients in avocados include potassium, vitamin K, and riboflavin,” says Pasquariello, adding that avocados also contain fiber, which is “vital for healthy digestion. healthy, lowering cholesterol, maintaining blood sugar and promoting longevity.”
Known for its convenience and great taste, canned tomato sauce helps you meet your daily quota of vitamin E. One cup of tomato sauce offers over 3.5 milligrams, along with vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. Just add seasonings and extra veggies (like these leafy greens) and enjoy with pasta, pizza, stews and more.