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Vitamin E is necessary for the body to maintain a strong immune system to protect against viruses and bacteria, in addition to forming red blood cells. While these functions are important, vitamin E has potent antioxidant benefits and specifically, its ability to protect cells, tissues and organs from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin E can even stop the production of free radicals entirely. The terror of free radicals on our cells typically occur due to external factors including over-exposure to sunlight, pollution and smoke. Researchers believe oxidative stress and free radical damage are involved in chronic conditions including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. There is conflicting evidence whether doses high in vitamin E can prevent such diseases, but reducing oxidative stress is beneficial.  Since vitamin E protects our body from free radicals, it provides advantageous cosmetic effects on the skin and anti-aging benefits! Vitamin E functions as an epidermal antioxidant because it absorbs the solar spectrum of UV light. Excessive exposure to free radicals over time diminishes vitamin E. Without vitamin E neutralizing free radicals, they cause oxidative stress which initiates the damage of cells and speeds up aging. When vitamin E is applied topically can improve the elasticity of our skin and protect against the damaging effects of sun exposure. Alpha-tocopherol is the only form of vitamin E used by the human body, which when applied topically, improves the damaging effects of free radicals which cause wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Many studies have shown the benefits of topical application of vitamin E with almost no side effects. One four-month study showed that topical application of 5% vitamin E to the face resulted in an improvement in wrinkles and UV-caused inflammation around the eye. In addition, one study showed that the topical application to sunburn damaged skin of 2% vitamin E reduced skin redness by 20%. If you want to reap the benefits of reducing redness of the skin caused by sun damage, apply vitamin E prior to the sun exposure because there is minimal benefit if vitamin E is applied after the UV-exposure.  

Dietary Sources of Vitamin E

The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine Recommended Intakes for people aged 14 and older is 15 mg per day, with an exception of breastfeeding teens and women is 19 mg per day. It is always beneficial to consume whole food sources of vitamin E because it is natural, unprocessed and you get additional nutritional benefits as well.  As mentioned, the recommended daily intake of adolescents and adults is 15 mg (22.5 IU). Below are nutritious sources of vitamin E provided by USDA National Nutrient Database. 

Sunflower seeds (dry roasted)

  • ¼ cup = 7.8 mg (11.7 IU) vitamin E


  • 1 oz = 7.8 mg (11.7 IU) vitamin E


  • 1 oz = 6.7 mg (10 IU) vitamin E

Hazelnuts or filberts 

  • 1 oz = 4.3 mg (6.5 IU) vitamin E

Peanut butter (fortified)

  • 2 tbsp = 4.2 mg (6.3 IU) vitamin E

Spinach (cooked)

  • 1 cup = 3.7 mg (5.6 IU) vitamin E

Soy milk

  • 1 cup = 3.3 mg (5 IU) vitamin E

Raw red peppers

  • 1 cup = 2.4 mg (3.5 IU) vitamin E

Broccoli (cooked)

  • 1 cup = 2.4 mg (3.5 IU) vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, so when consuming these sources of vitamin E, it is best to pair them with healthy fats to improve absorption.  Most of these foods would pair well on salads with olive oil and avocado. Other sources of vitamin E include wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, fortified breakfast cereals and margarine. However, besides vitamin E these sources lack nutritional value and so have not been included, you can find out how much vitamin E they contain here Diets rich in vitamin E will provide both health and beauty benefits. If you don’t believe your diet is providing adequate amounts of vitamin E, consider supplementing with 150-200 IU per day Get it: Nature Made Vitamin E Supplement