There are eight distinct forms of vitamin E, but researchers believe that only one type, alpha-tocopherol, helps meet human nutritional needs.
Plenty of foods contain vitamin E, which means many people get enough of the vitamin naturally through their diet.
Nuts, seeds, and some oils tend to contain the most vitamin E per serving. Some dark green vegetables, a few fruits, and some types of seafood also contain vitamin E.
Many manufacturers now fortify cereals and meal replacements with vitamin E.
In this article, learn about which foods are high in vitamin E, as well as the health benefits of this essential vitamin.
1. Sunflower seeds
Eating sunflower seeds can help the digestive system.
Sunflower seeds make an excellent snack. People can also sprinkle them on yogurt, oatmeal, or salad. A 100-gram (g) serving of sunflower seeds contains 35.17 milligrams (mg) of vitamin E.
Sunflower seeds are packed with a variety of nutrients and can help a person get enough fiber to keep their digestive system healthy. A 100 g serving contains:
Almonds also contain:
- 21.15 g protein
- 12.5 g fiber
- 733 mg potassium
- 270 mg magnesium
People should be sure to buy plain, dry-roasted peanuts rather than those with extra salt and flavorings.
The same size serving also contains:
- 24.35 g protein
- 8.4 g fiber
- 634 mg potassium
- 14.355 mg niacin
4. Some oils
A tablespoon of the following oils contains:
- Wheat germ oil: 20.32 mg vitamin E
- Rice bran oil: 4.39 mg vitamin E
- Grapeseed oil: 3.92 mg vitamin E
- Safflower oil: 4.64 mg vitamin E
The same size serving also contains 10 mg of vitamin C, making it a healthful addition to many meals and snacks. Avocado also contains more potassium than bananas.
Spinach is a good source of vitamin E, fiber, and potassium.
The same serving also contains:
- 9377 international units (IU) vitamin A
- 28.1 mg vitamin C
- 2.2 g fiber
- 558 mg potassium
7. Swiss chard
Like many leafy greens, Swiss chard contains a range of additional nutrients, including:
- 6116 IU vitamin A
- 81 mg magnesium
- 30 mg vitamin C
- 1.80 mg iron
- 379 mg potassium
- 1.6 g fiber
8. Butternut squash
The same size serving also contains plenty of other vitamins and nutrients, including:
- 11155 IU vitamin A
- 15.1 mg vitamin C
- 3.2 g fiber
- 284 mg of potassium
9. Beet greens
While many people are familiar with the taste of beetroot, not everyone knows that it is possible to eat the "greens" or leaves. People can use beet greens in salads or sauté them in oil.
A 100 g serving of cooked beet greens contains 1.81 mg of vitamin E.
Beet greens contain many additional nutrients, including:
- 7654 IU vitamin A
- 24.9 mg vitamin C
- 909 mg potassium
- 2.9 g fiber
- 1.90 mg iron
- 114 mg calcium
A 100 g serving of trout contains 2.15 mg of vitamin E.
Trout is also high in healthful omega-3 fatty acids, and the same size serving contains 21.11 g of protein.
What does vitamin E do?
Vitamin E can improve skin health and support the immune system.
Vitamin E is a type of antioxidant, which means it helps protect the body from free radicals.
Free radicals are highly energetic molecules with an unshared electron. The body produces them naturally during many processes, such as converting food into energy.
Free radicals can also enter the body due to environmental factors, such as pollution, sunlight, or smoke.
Free radicals can cause oxidative stress, which is a process that triggers cellular damage and aging. So far, researchers think oxidative stress and cellular damage plays some role in several conditions, including:
- Parkinson's disease
- Alzheimer's disease
- cardiovascular disease
- age-related macular degeneration and cataracts
Researchers think antioxidants, including vitamin E, may help neutralize free radicals and their effects by giving them an electron and making them less reactive.
Aside from its role as an antioxidant, vitamin E also helps support the immune system.
Also, some research shows that vitamin E may increase the expression of certain enzymes that widen, blood vessels. Wider blood vessels are less likely to develop dangerous blood clots.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, so people should be sure to consume vitamin E-rich foods with a fat to improve absorption.
How much do you need?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance, or RDA, for vitamin E depends on a person's age:
|Age||Dose in mg|
|0-6 months||4 mg|
|7-12 months||5 mg|
|1-3 years||6 mg|
|4-8 years||7 mg|
|9-13 years||11 mg|
|14+ years||15 mg|
|Breastfeeding women||19 mg|
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that may help protect cells from free radical damage.
Getting enough vitamin E may also help reduce the risk of a range of conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive decline.
Research, however, does not support the use of vitamin E supplements to reduce the risk of chronic disease. Food is the best source of vitamin E.
Many foods contain some vitamin E, but nuts, seeds, and some oils tend to have the highest levels. Anyone concerned about their vitamin E levels can speak to a doctor or dietitian about increasing their intake.