People tend to shun green vegetables, either not eating them or overcooking them until they are rancid. This is leading to a chronic low Vitamin E epidemic in the western world. Vitamin E is essential for our health – It is key for our skin health, memory and cell communication. Thing have not always been this way and the daily intake of Vitamin E has dropped hugely….
Our ancestors were getting up to 35mg of Vitamin E per day while the average westernised diet contain only 7mg of which most probably comes from refined poorly absorbed sources.
As a fat soluble vitamin it is only absorbed when consumed with a meal containing fat – and you will find the majority of good vitamin E sources are foods which already contain fat or need some kind of fat when eaten to be palatable. The main problem with current Vitamin E thinking is that very low quality foods are pushed for their vitamin content – this includes things like Vegetable oils, peanut butter and rancid nuts/seeds. While these foods do contain Vitamin E in small amounts the quality is extremely poor and the inflammatory properties of the high Omega 6 content outweigh the benefits you may receive from the small amount of Vitamin E.
Our skin needs a good dose of Vitamin E to repair and protect it from the damage that we incur daily from UV lights, Wind and Cold weather and elements. A lack can lead to premature ageing and skin problems like psoriasis and eczema – Its no wonder those with a healthy diet have great skin! Not only this but it seems the prevalence of dementia in our society could also have something to do with a low Vitamin E intake (along with a variety of other factors) either way if you have a genetic susceptibility to Alzheimer’s the keeping natural Vitamin E levels high is key.
I am not a huge believer in supplements – it is becoming more and more evident that all vitamins in nature are found with a variety of co-enzymes, nutrients and other vitamins which all work in conjunction together to give a therapeutic effect. This effect cannot be obtained from synthetic isolated vitamins which have even been shown to be harmful.Therefore it is usually better to try and get your nutrients from real food.
Anything green and leafy is great for Vitamin E so:
- Swiss Chard
- Mustard Greens
- Brussel Sprouts
These are all amazing sources of Vitamin E and if eaten a few times a week should have you covered. Make sure you are cooking these greens at low heat though otherwise the vitamins get destroyed – the best way is lightly steaming until tender, once cooked seasoning and butter/olive oil can be added to improve taste and help nutrient absorbtion. There are a few other good sources of Vitamin E including – Blueberries, Kiwis, Tomatoes, Papaya’s and Almonds.
Personally I am not a big fan of trying to obtain Vitamin E from Nuts and seeds firstly because of the high omega 6 content and secondly because of their freshness – Most nuts and seeds we buy today in food stores have been sitting around for months rotting away before being consumed, anyone who has had a really fresh Almond or Walnut will know how profound the difference in taste is. This is not to say they should be excluded from our diets, but they certainly shouldn’t be seen as a primary source for Vitamin E or much nutrition in general.
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