What is Vitamin E

What is Vitamin E?

Vitamin E is an important fat-soluble antioxidant compound that aids the body in neutralizing the harmful after-effects of oxidation of fats. Current research is considering the important role that this vitamin plays in stopping free-radical production, a key method of preventing the development of chronic diseases and aging. It is also a vital element in the overall maintenance of a healthy immune system.

Some studies are considering its role in preventing degenerative mental imbalances such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. And while many of us may do well in taking extra vitamin E supplements, we can use an organic diet to get a large amount of the daily requirements for this powerful antioxidant lipid. In fact, there are many common foods with vitamin E. You probably have a few in your house right now.

Vitamin E: Why It’s Important

There are many kinds of Vitamin E; for simplicity, “Vitamin E” here means alpha-tocopherol, since that’s the only kind that can fill human nutritional needs.  Vitamin E is an important nutrient for many reasons. Among other things, it’s a powerful antioxidant, and it’s important for skin health, immunity, and fertility.

Antioxidant function

Like Vitamin C, Vitamin E is an antioxidant: it helps protect cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. If you’re not a fan of cancer, cardiovascular disease, early aging, and overall inflammation, then you want plenty of Vitamin E around.

Skin Health

Because of its antioxidant properties, Vitamin E can help protect the skin from UV damage – and not just when it’s applied as a cream or lotion. Dietary Vitamin E also has benefits, although it does take some time for the Vitamin E that you eat to make its way out to your skin. That’s particularly true when Vitamin E is combined with Vitamin C: both together are much better than just the Vitamin E alone.

Fertility

Vitamin E is often touted as a “fertility vitamin,” but here, the evidence isn’t anywhere near what we’d like it to be. There are studies on rats, mice, quail, rabbits, cows, chickens, sheep…but the human studies are in short supply! There’s some evidence that it might help with fertility treatments, though, and that it might help improve sperm quality in men.

Immune Health

Vitamin E is also crucial for keeping your immune function up and running. Vitamin C gets all the good press, but good press doesn’t always tell the whole story. Vitamin E is important for immunity at the cellular level – and just like with skin health, the effects of Vitamin E are compounded when it’s added to Vitamin C.

Olive oil is extremely health plant “fat”.  It contains about 2mg of Vitamin E per tablespoon.  If you used 3 to 4 tablespoons when cooking, in total for the whole days meals, that’s already half of your Vitamin E taken care of. That’s a whole lot easier than eating huge piles of spinach every day, and you’re probably already doing that.

As Vitamin E is fat-soluble, so eating foods with this fat helps get the good vitamin to where it’s needed. That’s why people with absorptive disorders like Crohn’s Disease are often deficient in Vitamin E: it’s not really about the vitamin; it’s about the fat. Getting the vitamin packaged directly with plenty of healthy fats is a convenient way to ensure absorption.

Once you understand this, by adding plenty of delicious guacamole, and/or some nuts, it’s very easy to ensure a diet rich in Vitamin E without the need for any supplements at all.

What About Supplements?

Whenever anything sounds like too much hard work, it’s so tempting just to pop a pill. Unfortunately, though, there’s some evidence that taking high-dose Vitamin E supplements may do more harm than good. As the authors of that study concluded:

The optimal source of antioxidants seems to come from our diet, not from antioxidant supplements in pills or tablets.

Conclusion
It is possible to get enough Vitamin E from whole foods without eating any fortified foods, and even without any nuts or seeds. For one thing, cooking with healthy fat like olive oil can give your Vitamin E intake a giant boost: even a few tablespoons over the course of the day really adds up!  And while you’re using olive oil, using home-made tomato sauce for some Italian-inspired dinners and get a double dose.  It’s wonderful how that always seems to happen: eating a varied, whole-foods diet covers most of your nutritional bases without any need to worry about it.

Adapted from Article: paleoleap.com

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