Health Habits: Vitamin E

Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin, also known as tocopherol, was first discovered in 1922, but not recognized as an essential nutrient in humans until the mid-1960s. Vitamin E is a family of 8 compounds occurring naturally. The most active form of vitamin E is called alpha-tocopherol.  The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin E is 15 mg/day for men and women. The RDA was set based on the amount needed to preserve the membranes of red blood cells. The breakdown of the red blood cell membrane is called hemolysis. While deficiency is rare, hemolytic anemia may occur in cases of deficiency.  Vitamin E’s antioxidant properties work to prevent oxidative damage. It is also known to have anti-inflammation and immune-boosting properties.  

Food sources of this vitamin include avocado, mango, kiwi, broccoli, almonds, peanuts, wheat germ, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and various plant oils. Margarine, shortenings, and salad dressings made with plant oils are also sources of vitamin E. The vitamin E content in food varies depending on harvesting, processing, and storage. It is easily destroyed by oxygen, metals, lights, and heat exposure. Whole food sources of the vitamin are best to maximize the nutritional benefits. The added benefits of eating whole foods include vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Fruit and vegetables are the ultimate nutrition package.

Here are a couple of fun recipes to include in your recipe book:

1. Kiwi, Mango & Pineapple Salad: 

Ingredients: 2 mangoes cut and peeled, 2 kiwis cut and peeled, 1 pineapple or 2 cans of pineapple chunks, drained, 2 Tablespoons of chopped cilantro, lime zest, fresh-squeezed lime juice, 1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic, and 1 teaspoon of chili pepper. 

Directions:  Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate until serving time.

2. Chicken & Broccoli Salad with Walnuts:

Ingredients: ½ cup olive oil mayonnaise, ½ cup plain Greek Yogurt, 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 2 cups of broccoli florets, 2 cups of broccoli slaw, 1 small diced apple, ½ cup of dried cranberries or raisins, 1 cup of chopped walnuts,  ½ cup of diced red onion, and salt & pepper to taste. 

Directions: Mix the wet ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the vegetables, nuts, and cranberries or raisins. Pour the wet ingredients over the vegetable mix and gently toss. Serve immediately or refrigerate for an hour before serving. 

The two recipes above are whole food sources of vitamin E with minimally processed ingredients.  Give these a try this week and if you decide you’d like to try more, e-mail me at


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