Vitamin E is gaining prominence as an effective antioxidant, reducing the effects of oxidative stress on the appearance and health of skin. Research is showing that Vitamin E may provide several other benefits, including immune system support and even improved heart health.
While research is ongoing, a diet that contains plenty of antioxidant-rich foods, including those featuring Vitamin E, are believed to reduce the risk of heart disease. Here’s what you need to know about Vitamin E’s role in promoting a healthy heart.
Vitamin E is good for the heart
A diet rich in powerful antioxidants, including Vitamin E, is linked to better heart health. It’s an essential nutrient that can potentially improve heart health. In fact, studies show that consumption of Vitamin E-rich foods is linked to lower risk of coronary heart disease in middle-aged to older men and women.
Studies are ongoing, and, while The American Heart Association does not support the use of Vitamin E supplements to prevent heart disease, it strongly recommends increasing your consumption of the nutrient through diet.
Vitamin E through diet is the best option
From leafy green vegetables to fish and fruits, there are a whole range of great foods rich in Vitamin E you can incorporate into your diet. While eating a balanced diet is always recommended, individuals need to look at everything from macro nutrients to food allergies when finding ways to raise their Vitamin E intake from food.
Here’s a brief guide to some of the healthy dietary choices that can boost your Vitamin E consumption:
- Green vegetables. Many healthy, green vegetables contain moderate amounts of Vitamin E. Cooked beet greens, raw turnip greens and cooked broccoli each contain about 10% of your daily intake in a 100-gram serving. It’s a low-fat, delicious way to boost your Vitamin E consumption, as well as introduce more green vegetables into your diet.
- Sunflower seeds and oil. These foods are incredibly rich in Vitamin E, with both options containing nearly half of your daily intake in a single ounce. The good news is that sunflower oil is also low in saturated fat, and can help balance cholesterol when consumed in moderation.
- Almonds and almond oil. A handful of almonds a day can contribute to heart health. Almond oil also contains high amounts of Vitamin E, with three tablespoons providing your entire daily intake of the nutrient.
- Atlantic salmon. Fresh salmon is incredibly healthy, containing Vitamin E and other important nutrients. One fillet contains about 16% of your recommended daily value. And, while you might not be keen on eating salmon every day, it’s a great addition to a general entrée rotation as part of a healthy diet.
- Avocados. Your guacamole or avocado toast can have some heart-healthy benefits, with half an avocado containing about 14% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin E. Just beware—avocados are high in fat!
The best sources of Vitamin E are seeds, nuts and oils. If you ate enough of these Vitamin E-rich foods every day, you’d likely increase your fat intake dramatically. Not only is this not good for your heart health, it’s a bad idea for your overall well-being.
It can be helpful to supplement with capsules or powders, but you always need to consult a doctor before doing so. While Vitamin E through diet is the best option, it can also be tough to achieve the ideal recommended daily intake for adults, which is around 15mg every day.
Too much of a good thing is bad
Receiving health benefits from Vitamin E is all about dosage. It’s best to keep daily consumption at levels under 400mg (or 400 IU). There is a risk of Vitamin E toxicity, but this only occurs at very high amounts—generally over 1,200mg. It’s best to take low doses of Vitamin E, when recommended by a doctor, if you’re looking to improve heart health. Your physician can pinpoint the right dose for your specific situation, based on vitamin levels in your body.
Always consult with a physician about supplements
It’s always important to get a professional opinion from a physician to make sure your body will react well with a certain vitamin or nutrient—or to determine whether your body needs it at all.
If a doctor has suggested that you begin taking a Vitamin E supplement, don’t pick up the first product you see on the shelf. Do your research and look for an all-natural Vitamin E option. Going the natural route helps your body make the most of the healthful benefits of Vitamin E. Whether you’re looking to improve your heart health or take advantage of the other benefits of Vitamin E, get a doctor’s opinion before you proceed.