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Brookhaven Retreat Blog - For inspiration, growth & a fresh perspective.

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Helping One Another

Helping One Another

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Women, You ARE Beautiful!

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Unconditional Worth

Unconditional Worth

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Pappardelle with Roasted Winter Squash, Arugula, and Pine Nuts

Pappardelle with Roasted Winter Squash, Arugula, and Pine Nuts

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Focus the Mind, Reap the Rewards

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The Necessity of Silence

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Vitamin E

Friday, 29 August 2014 00:00  by Charity C.

What is vitamin E and what does it do?

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin essential to the human body. “Vitamin E” is actually a blanket term that includes eight different forms of the nutrient. The most studied is the alpha-tocopherol form, which seems to be the most utilized and beneficial form for the body, although scientists are curious about the health benefits of the other forms as well.

Vitamin E’s main function in the body is cellular function and protection. Vitamin E functions as an antioxidant, protecting cells from free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules produced in the body when we metabolize food into energy. Free radicals can also come from environmental sources, such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, and ultraviolet light from the sun. Because free radicals have an unstable amount of electrons, they bounce around the body wreaking havoc on the body’s cells in their attempt to become stable. In doing so they damage the cell’s DNA and fat-based membranes, which can lead to mutation, cancer cell growth, arterial damage and even aging. Antioxidants are the wonderful rescuer that come in and neutralize them. In fact, the aging process in chocked up the free radical damage, so consuming foods rich in antioxidants like vitamin E, C, A, and others, can help slow the aging process and improve skin health.

The body also needs vitamin E to boost its immune system so that it can fight off invading bacteria and viruses. It helps to widen blood vessels and keep blood from clotting within them. In addition, cells use vitamin E to interact with each other and to carry out many important functions.

How much vitamin E do I need?

The amount of vitamin E you need each day depends on your age. Average daily recommended intakes are listed below in milligrams (mg) and in International Units (IU). Package labels list the amount of vitamin E in foods and dietary supplements in IU.

Life Stage Recommended Amount
Birth to 6 months 4 mg (6 IU)
Infants 7–12 months 5 mg (7.5 IU)
Children 1–3 years 6 mg (9 IU)
Children 4–8 years 7 mg (10.4 IU)
Children 9–13 years 11 mg (16.4 IU)
Teens 14–18 years 15 mg (22.4 IU)
Adults 15 mg (22.4 IU)
Pregnant teens and women 15 mg (22.4 IU)
Breastfeeding teens and women 19 mg (28.4 IU)

Food Sources of Vitamin E

Five of the best food sources of vitamin E are leafy greens. Spinach, chard, turnip greens, beet greens and mustard greens are all excellent sources.

Since vitamin E is fat-soluble, foods rich in essential fatty acids like nuts and seeds and plant oils, are good sources as well: sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, avocado, olive oil.

Below is The World’s Healthiest Foods list of vitamin E rich foods:

World's Healthiest Foods ranked as quality sources of vitamin E

Food

Serving Size

Cals

Amount (mg (ATE))

DRI/DV (%)

Nutrient Density

World's Healthiest Foods Rating

Sunflower Seeds

0.25 cup

204.4

12.31

82.07

7.2

excellent

Spinach

1 cup

41.4

3.74

24.93

10.8

excellent

Swiss Chard

1 cup

35.0

3.31

22.07

11.3

excellent

Turnip Greens

1 cup

28.8

2.71

18.07

11.3

excellent

Asparagus

1 cup

39.6

2.70

18.00

8.2

excellent

Beet Greens

1 cup

38.9

2.61

17.40

8.1

excellent

Mustard Greens

1 cup

36.4

2.49

16.60

8.2

excellent

Chili Peppers

2 tsp

15.2

2.06

13.73

16.2

excellent

Almonds

0.25 cup

132.2

6.03

40.20

5.5

very good

Broccoli

1 cup

54.6

2.26

15.07

5.0

very good

Bell Peppers

1 cup

28.5

1.45

9.67

6.1

very good

Kale

1 cup

36.4

1.11

7.40

3.7

very good

Tomatoes

1 cup

32.4

0.97

6.47

3.6

very good

Avocado

1 cup

240.0

3.11

20.73

1.6

good

Peanuts

0.25 cup

206.9

3.04

20.27

1.8

good

Shrimp

4 oz

134.9

2.49

16.60

2.2

good

Olives

1 cup

154.6

2.22

14.80

1.7

good

Olive Oil

1 TBS

119.3

1.94

12.93

2.0

good

Collard Greens

1 cup

62.7

1.67

11.13

3.2

good

Cranberries

1 cup

46.0

1.20

8.00

3.1

good

Raspberries

1 cup

64.0

1.07

7.13

2.0

good

Kiwifruit

1 2 inches

42.1

1.01

6.73

2.9

good

Carrots

1 cup

50.0

0.81

5.40

1.9

good

Green Beans

1 cup

43.8

0.56

3.73

1.5

good

Leeks

1 cup

32.2

0.52

3.47

1.9

good

World's Healthiest Foods Rating

Rule

excellent

DRI/DV>=75% OR Density>=7.6 AND DRI/DV>=10%

very good

DRI/DV>=50% OR Density>=3.4 AND DRI/DV>=5%

good

DRI/DV>=25% OR Density>=1.5 AND DRI/DV>=2.5%

What kinds of vitamin E dietary supplements are available?

Vitamin E supplements come in different amounts and forms. Several things to consider when choosing a vitamin E supplement are the source and amount of vitamin E. Vitamin E from natural (food) sources is listed as "d-alpha-tocopherol" (d) on food packaging and supplement labels. Synthetic (laboratory-made) vitamin E is listed as "dl-alpha-tocopherol" (dl). The natural form is more potent. For example, 100 IU of natural vitamin E is equal to about 150 IU of the synthetic form. Some vitamin E supplements provide other forms of the vitamin, such as gamma-tocopherol, tocotrienols, and mixed tocopherols. Scientists do not know if any of these forms are superior to alpha-tocopherol in supplements. The best bet is to get your vitamin E from food sources, as nature has an amazing way of having a perfect balance of just the right ratios of nutrients that all work synergistically in perfect harmony. Also, vitamin C can help with recycling vitamin E, so consuming them simultaneously can be beneficial.

What happens if I don't get enough vitamin E?

Vitamin E deficiency is very rare in healthy people, and is usually linked to certain diseases where fat is not properly digested or absorbed. For example, in the case of Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, and certain rare genetic diseases such as abetalipoproteinemia and ataxia with vitamin E deficiency (AVED), as vitamin E needs fat to be absorbed. Vitamin E deficiency can cause nerve and muscle damage that results in loss of feeling in the arms and legs, loss of body movement control, muscle weakness, and vision problems, and possibly a weakened immune system.

Five-Minute Collard Greens

Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 pound collard greens, chopped

Mediterranean Dressing:

  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 medium clove garlic, pressed or chopped
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp sunflower seeds

Optional:

  • crumbled feta cheese
  • chopped olives
  • sliced almonds
  • raisins

Directions:

  1. Fill bottom of steamer with 2 inches of water.
  2. While steam is building up, slice collard greens leaves into 1/2-inch slices and cut again crosswise.
  3. Cut stems into 1/4-inch slices.
  4. Let both leaves and stems sit for at least 5 minutes to enhance their health-promoting properties.
  5. Press or chop garlic and let sit for at least 5 minutes to bring out more of its health-promoting properties.
  6. Steam collard greens for no more than 5 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a bowl.
  8. For more flavor, toss collard greens with the remaining ingredients while they are still hot. (Mediterranean Dressing does not need to be made separately).
  9. Top with sunflower seeds and any/all of optional ingredients if you would like.
Last modified on Friday, 29 August 2014 03:29
More in this category: « Extreme Self-Care: 4 Ways to Re-use Coffee Grounds 4 Garden Super Foods To Enjoy Late Summer »

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