Vitamin E is a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant nutrient which plays a major role in our system. Vitamin E gets stored in the fat in our body and can stay in our system for longer periods because it doesn’t get excreted like water-soluble vitamins. It also prevents LDL cholesterol oxidation.
This vitamin is found in foods such as wheat germ oil, avocado, spinach, cereals, meat, oils, eggs, vegetables, poultry, and fruits.
What is it and what is it good for?
Free radicals are formed when the food that we eat is converted into energy in our bodies. We are also exposed to these harmful chemicals from external sources such as ultraviolet light from the sun, cigarette smoke and air pollution. Vitamin E works as an antioxidant to protect us from the harmful effects of free radicals. Apart from this, vitamin E plays a role in healthy functioning of our immune systems and it is also needed for normal functioning at the cellular level. It helps blood vessels widen and prevents blood from clotting inside your blood vessels.
Which foods contain vitamin E?
You can get the vitamin E your body needs from vegetable oils. Sunflower, safflower and wheat germ oils have the most vitamin E, while corn and soybean oils also have the nutrient in good quantities. It is also found in green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, in nuts including peanuts, almonds and hazelnuts, and in seeds such as sunflower seeds. Vitamin E is added to packaged foods such as breakfast cereals, fruit juices and other pre-produced foods.
Vitamin E deficiencies
Although rare, vitamin E deficiencies can lead to cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease and ataxia with vitamin E deficiency (AVED). A severe lack of the vitamin can cause nerve and muscle damage leading to muscle weakness, and a weakened immune system.
Too much is a bad thing
Obtained from natural sources vitamin E isn’t harmful. But when taken in supplement form the vitamin can build up to dangerous levels, and could lead to an increased risk of bleeding because it impacts the body’s ability to form blood clots. It could also increase the risk of bleeding in the brain.
So far studies relating vitamin E consumption with reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and eye disorders has been inconclusive. Current research also can’t tell whether higher levels of vitamin E help keep older adults mentally active and alert.
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