An antioxidant, Vitamin E protects fats from becoming rancid, and thus, protects vitamins like A and C, as well as, other fats called unsaturated fats. Studies have not only linked vitamin E to heart health, they have linked it to oxygen intake. Scientists have discovered that those with a diet poor in vitamin E need more oxygen for their muscles compare to normal individuals. This led researchers to conclude that a diet rich in vitamin E will enable individuals to get by with less oxygen intact. Those living in higher altitudes, polluted environments or smokers may benefit from a dietary change that consists of more vitamin E as this vitamin is important in many functions of the body from brain to internal organs.
One study conducted by Dr. F.L. Money Wellington, New Zealand on pigs found that those kept in pens and fed artificially were more prone to sudden death, similar to SIDS in humans. These animals had very low levels of vitamin E and a trace mineral selenium in their blood. Upon administering vitamin E and selenium to one group, the group no longer experienced sudden death, while the other group that was still restricted continued to suffer mortalities.
Why is vitamin E beneficial?
As stated before, it is an antioxidant and prevents harmful substances from forming in your body, like free-radicals. It prevents the formation of unwanted blood clots, enlarges arteries for better circulation, and helps create new arteries if one should become blocked. Vitamin E helps form new skin in wounds and burns and may delay aging. Supplemental vitamin E has been shown to be extremely beneficial for premature babies, as their is a likelihood of deficiency for those with low birth weight.
The richest source of vitamin E in the germ of cereals is removed when we eat white flour or most commercial cereals. Foods like oatmeal, whole wheat and whole grain breads, and wheat germ oil (20mg/tablespoon) are high in vitamin E, but there are other sources like olive oil, beef, fatty fishes, shellfish, seeds and nuts, and of course…avocados.
The Daily Value for adults and children age 4 and older is 20mg of natural alpha-tocopherol
Sunflower seeds: 36mg per 100g
Almonds: aproximately 26mg per 100g
Low Fat Popcorn: 5mg per 100g
Taro: 2.9mg per 100g
Peas: 1.7mg per cup
Oatmeal: 3.2mg per cup
Avocado: 4.2mg per fruit
Olive Oil: 2mg per Tablespoon
Oysters: approx. 1.5mg per 3oz cooked
Salmon: 1.2mg per 3oz
Sources: National Institutes of Health, The Complete Home Guide to All the Vitamins by Ruth Adams