Wondering how your diet affects your Vitamin E intake? Vitamin E is just one of 13 essential nutrients. It’s a powerful antioxidant that prevents free radicals from building in the body and causing oxidative stress, which damages cells and may contribute to serious conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and premature aging.
Often, following a restricted diet can mean forgoing the usual readily available sources of a vitamin or nutrient. This is especially true for vegetarians, who may struggle to get their daily recommended levels of certain dietary building blocks. But does following a vegetarian diet make a person more prone to lower Vitamin E levels? Not necessarily.
Read on to learn more about who gets the most Vitamin E from their diet—vegetarians or meat-eaters.
A look at diet: are you an herbivore or a carnivore? Omnivore?
Just like animals in nature, humans are classified by the foods they eat. There are three different general categories of diet: herbivore, carnivore and omnivore.
- Herbivores: This classification refers to a person who only eats plants. Vegans and vegetarians may fall under this category, but vegetarians may consume animal products like milk or cheese, but no animal meat.
- Carnivores: Carnivores are animals that only eat meat from other animals. A person may be able to survive, but not thrive, if they follow a meat-only diet—they simply won’t get all the nutrients they need.
- Omnivores: Most people are omnivores, which means they eat both plant and animal products. This is arguably the healthiest diet, providing all 13 essential nutrients if a person eats right.
The most common dietary sources of Vitamin E
There are several whole-food sources of Vitamin E. Many of them can be consumed by vegetarians and vegans, as well as by people who eat meat. Since Vitamin E is fat-soluble, the most common food sources of the nutrient are high in fats, making them ideal for vegetarians and vegans who might have trouble getting enough fat from their diet alone. The best sources of Vitamin E include:
- Oils. One of the easiest ways to incorporate more Vitamin E into your diet is by switching from traditional cooking oil to sunflower, safflower, almond, hazelnut or wheat germ oil. Each of these oils contain significant amounts of Vitamin E. In the case of wheat germ oil, you can get more than your recommended daily intake of the nutrient from a single serving.
- Fruits. Some of your favorite fruits may contain moderate levels of Vitamin E. Mangoes and avocadoes contain more than 10% of your daily value of Vitamin E in one serving.
- Leafy greens. Spice up your salad with leafy greens that have moderate amounts of Vitamin E. Swiss chard, turnip greens and beet greens are just a few low-calorie options that boost your Vitamin E intake.
- Fatty fish. Meat-eaters will receive moderate amounts of Vitamin E from abalone, rainbow trout or Atlantic salmon.
Recommended daily values of Vitamin E
Healthy adults need 15mg of Vitamin E each day to support essential bodily processes. Most people don’t achieve that number every day from dietary sources alone. While deficiency is rare and is usually linked to serious genetic or medical conditions, it does occur. Signs of deficiency to look for include muscle weakness, vision problems, tingling sensations, discoordination and a weakened immune system.
Supplements can bridge the gap
Many people find that supplementing with Vitamin E is a convenient way to make sure their body has adequate levels of this powerful antioxidant. While there are plenty of options on the market, remember that not all supplements are created equal.
Instead of choosing a synthetic supplement that’s difficult for your body to absorb, an all-natural, organic option is your best bet. Natural options assimilate with the body far better than synthetic options, and your liver will recognize the natural form of Vitamin E. You’ll get the most benefits from your investment and your body will more easily absorb the nutrient.
Is your diet providing you with enough Vitamin E?
The truth is, both vegetarians and meat-eaters can have trouble getting enough Vitamin E from dietary sources alone. If you’re concerned about your Vitamin E levels, incorporating more Vitamin E-rich foods into your daily routine can be effective, but supplementing can be an even more effective, convenient option.
If you’re interested in supplementing with Vitamin E, making an appointment with your healthcare provider is the first step to take. Your doctor can determine whether a Vitamin E supplement is right for your situation. If you receive approval, choose an all-natural supplement that’s easy to absorb and utilize.