Move over vitamin C; there’s a new vitamin on the block!
What Is Vitamin E?
It’s easy to think of vitamins, with their simplistic alphabetical names, as single compounds, but vitamin E is actually a group of eight fat-soluble compounds - four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Although that may sound a bit complicated, all you really need to know is that vitamin E is an antioxidant, meaning that it helps to fight free radicals and is very good for you.
What Are Free Radicals And Why Are They Bad?
Put simply, free radicals are atoms with an unstable electron, meaning that they are highly reactive and on the hunt to make themselves stable again. Although free-radicals only exist for a fraction of a second, during that time, they can damage DNA, causing mutations that may ultimately lead to cancer. We come into contact with free radicals every day in the form of environmental stressors such as pollutants, chemicals, and toxins, but we also produce free radicals naturally as a byproduct during our metabolic processes. Although we cannot prevent free radicals from forming during our metabolic processes, we can limit our exposure to toxins and combat their effects by consuming antioxidants.
How Do Antioxidants Help?
Antioxidants, like vitamin E, are nutrients that stop free-radicals from forming, preventing them from causing damage in the body. Generally speaking, the best sources of antioxidants are plants, which is why diets rich in fruit and vegetables are linked to a lower risk of cancer. Although vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, many others have the same protective effect against free radicals, such as anthocyanins found in berries, EGCG from green tea, vitamin A, and beta-carotene.
How To Eat More Antioxidants
The easiest way to eat more antioxidants is to eat more nuts and seeds. Here are a few of the best plant-based sources of vitamin E to give you some inspiration.
Just a one-ounce serving of sunflower seeds provides 66% of your recommended daily value of vitamin E.
A one-ounce serving of almonds provides 48% of your recommended daily value of vitamin E.
It’s not just almonds that are high in antioxidants; pecans are also a great source of vitamin I, with a one-ounce serving providing approximately 46% of our recommended daily value.
If pecans or almonds don’t take your fancy, then you can even eat more antioxidants by making your own delicious hazelnut spread. A one-ounce serving of hazelnuts provides 28% of your recommended daily value of vitamin E, and dark chocolate is another food known for its antioxidants too.