If you hang out in the health section of the Internet for even a short amount of time, you’ll probably come across a conversation about antioxidants, aka the compounds that protect your cells from damaging free radicals. “Vitamin E is one of the top antioxidants that we consume in our diets and it is an essential nutrient,” explains Andrea N. Giancoli, MPH, RD, nutrition manager for Openfit. To ensure you’re getting enough of this essential vitamin, you want to make sure you consume enough vitamin E foods.
Don’t worry, we won’t make you scour the web to find the best vitamin E food sources. We have that list for you right here, along with some other important information about vitamin E.
What Foods Are High in Vitamin E?
Here is a quick list of 14 of the best vitamin E food sources, according to the United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference:
|Almonds, natural||¼ cup||9|
|Sunflower seeds, dry roasted||¼ cup||8|
|Sunflower oil||1 Tablespoon||5.6|
|Almond oil||1 Tablespoon||5|
|Tomato puree, canned||1 cup||5|
|Hazelnuts, chopped||¼ cup||4|
|Turnip greens, frozen and cooked||1 cup||4|
|Almond butter||1 Tablespoon||4|
|Spinach, cooked||1 cup||4|
|Sunflower seed butter||1 Tablespoon||4|
|Pine nuts, dried||¼ cup||3|
|Apricots, dried, unsulfured, halves||¼ cup||1.5|
|Florida avocado, pureed||¼ cup||1.5|
What Is Vitamin E?
“Vitamin E is a group of eight compounds,” explains Mascha Davis, MPH, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it requires fats to be properly absorbed and stored.” Of the eight compounds (four tocopherols and four tocotrienols), alpha-tocopherol is the one that meets our bodies needs.
As an antioxidant, vitamin E protects cells against damage from free radicals that may lead to diseases. It also helps support the immune system and helps red blood cells form.
How much vitamin E should you consume?
Vitamin E is measured in both milligrams and international units (IU). According to the National Institutes of Health, adults ages 14 and older should consume 15 milligrams (or 22.4 IU) of vitamin E daily.
What Are the Benefits of Vitamin E?
While we need vitamin E to survive, most research is inconclusive regarding some of its specific benefits. “Because vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, it was theorized to help with some health conditions,” Giancoli says. “But when researchers gave people vitamin E against a placebo, it wasn’t found to help lower [health] risks.”
There is also evidence that vitamin E may help protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but the evidence is inconsistent. Lastly, taking vitamin E supplements may help improve cognitive and memory function, but again, more research is necessary before we know for sure if vitamin E helps.
What Are Symptoms of a Vitamin E Deficiency?
Since there are many vitamin E food sources, a deficiency is rare in healthy people. Most often, a vitamin E deficiency is linked to a disease that impairs proper fat digestion and absorption, such as Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and certain rare genetic diseases.
Symptoms of a vitamin E deficiency include muscle weakness, vision impairment, impaired immune response, and, in those with Crohn’s disease or cystic fibrosis, greasy stools and chronic diarrhea. See your doctor if you experience any symptoms.
Can You Have Too Much Vitamin E?
Eating foods high in vitamin E does not pose any risk. However, consuming excessively high amounts of vitamin E from supplements may increase the risk of bleeding, as excessive vitamin E decreases blood’s ability to clot.
But keep in mind that “high” means extremely high. The National Institutes of Health puts the upper limit for adults at 1,000 mg/day for supplements made from natural forms of vitamin and about 740 mg/day for supplements made from synthetic forms of vitamin. (Most multivitamins contain about 20 mg.)