The Vitamin E, actually made up of a set of eight compounds, It was discovered in 1922. In an experiment with rats, it was observed that its activity was essential for the correct development of fetuses, which is why it was given the name of “Tocopherol”, from the Greek words birth “τόκος” (birth) and “φέρειν” (to have or carry), which together mean “carry a pregnancy”.
Today we know that vitamin E (like all vitamins) performs essential functions in metabolism of cells, without which our survival would be impossible. Although it remains unclear what exactly it does, we know that has an important antioxidant work –In fact, it is the most important fat-soluble antioxidant in animal tissues–, essential to protect the polyunsaturated fatty acids of lipids against oxidative damage.
Other theories also point out that one of the compounds framed within this vitamin, specifically the alphatocopherol, it has a role in the control of gene expression and cellular signal transduction.
Like vitamins A, D and K, vitamin E is fat soluble. Since it dissolves in fat, it is stored in the liver and tissues so, unlike vitamins B and C (the only ones that are soluble in water), it is not necessary to take it every day.
Its functions are still being studied
Vitamin E is present in high concentrations in all vegetable oils –Sunflower, rapeseed, olive… -, as well as in nuts, vegetables such as avocado, spinach or broccoli and, to a lesser extent, in eggs, cereals, and all products of animal origin.
Given its presence in so many foods and its fat-soluble character his deficit is tremendously strange and it is due to certain endocrine problems that prevent the correct absorption of fat.
There is not a single documented case of a person having a vitamin E deficiency due to an incorrect diet, despite this supplements of this vitamin are hugely popular, especially in the form of alpha-tocopherol, a substance that we can also find as an additive in many foods under the European code E-307.
Research on the alphatocopherol As a dietary supplement, with daily amounts as high as 2000 mg per day, it has had conflicting results. Some population studies suggest that people who ate foods with more vitamin E, or who chose to consume a dietary supplement, had a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, and other diseases, but placebo-controlled clinical trials have failed to replicate these findings and there has been some evidence that vitamin E supplementation is actually associated with a moderate increase in mortality.
Vitamin E is still an important topic of clinical researchBut it seems clear that there is no solid scientific evidence to confirm that it helps to have a “radiant” skin, which is what supplements and oils usually promise.
All vitamin E can be obtained naturally in the diet and, in addition, through foods that are part of a healthy diet.
Foods with the most vitamin E
Health authorities (depending on each country) recommend adult consumption of between 12 and 15 mg of vitamin E a day. Although, as we mentioned, vitamin E deficiency is very rare, there are various studies that suggest that your intake may be insufficient in much of the population.
In 2017 an investigation carried out in the Spanish population pointed out that 80% of the entire adult population has an inadequate intake of vitamin E.
If we want to consume the amount of vitamin E recommended, it is enough with naturally incorporate these foods into our diet, which are the richest in these compounds.
1. Vegetable oils
Wheat germ, hazelnut, rapeseed, sunflower and almond oils are, in this order, the richest in vitamin E, with concentrations greater than 40 mg per 100 grams.
Of vegetable oils olive oil is one of the least rich in vitamin E, although it still has 14.3 mg per 100 grams. This means that with a single tablespoon of olive oil we will take approximately 2 grams of this vitamin, or 16% of the recommended daily amount.
All nuts are rich in vitamin E, but the almond is the one that concentrates these compounds the most, with 24.2 mg per 100 grams. Therefore, it is enough to introduce into our diet a handful of almonds of 50 grams to obtain all the vitamin E that we need per day.
Although nuts can easily be incorporated into the diet in the form of snack healthy or as complements to desserts and breakfasts, also we can pull the cookbook to make sure they are present in our diet.
This recipe for almonds with Brussels sprouts (which also has vitamin E) is a perfect option, as well as cordovan porridge or ajoblanco, famous cold soups that have almonds as the main ingredient.
After almonds, hazelnuts are the dried fruit with the most vitamin E, with 15.3 mg per 100 grams.
If we want to incorporate this into the diet better not to do it in the form of candyIt is better not to take too much vitamin E than to take too much sugar. Good alternatives are this chicken stewed with hazelnut sauce or choosing to accompany some grilled vegetables with the exquisite romesco sauce, which in addition to hazelnuts has almonds.
The pine nuts have 9.3 mg of vitamin E per 100 grams.
Some ideas to incorporate them into the diet (without ruining ourselves, as it is an expensive nut) are this recipe for pine nuts thistle or this chicken stew, with pine nuts and raisins, which are also relatively rich in vitamin E.
We continue in the world of nuts with peanuts, which have 8.3 mg of vitamin E per 100 grams.
There are many possibilities for peanuts in the kitchen, which are widely used, for example, in cooking. Thai cuisine. It is a good option to opt for this chicken stir-fry with pineapple and peanuts or these prawns with curried peanut butter.
Although vitamin E is present to a greater extent in vegetable fats, it is also present in most animal fats and, above all, in fish.
The amount of vitamin E varies between different fish, being those with more fat the ones that concentrate it the most. By far the fish with the most vitamin E is the elver, which reaches 5.6 mg per 100 grams, then we find the eel (4.14 mg), the conger (4.1 mg), horse mackerel and pomfret (2.6 mg), salmon (2.02 mg) or sardine (1.6 mg).
Some ideas to incorporate a good shot of vitamin E into our diet through fish is to bet on this fantastic eel stewed with potatoes and dried tomato, this baked pomfret with roasted peppers and feta cheese or this recipe for baked salmon with nuts , which brings together all the foods richest in this vitamin.
We finish the list of nuts rich in vitamin E with pistachios, which have 2.8 mg of these compounds per 100 grams.
Pistachio is an excellent food that we are not used to incorporating into our diet as nothing more than snacks, even if it has many possibilities. Some ideas are this salad with pistachio and ham cheese or this pasta with pumpkin sauce, pistachios and blue cheese.
Avocado it is the richest fruit in fat and, for this reason, the richest also in vitamin E, with 2.6 mg per 100 grams.
Little can be said since it has not been said about the fashionable fruit, but we encourage you to try these avocado toasts, this avocado, quinoa and shrimp salad or these baked avocados stuffed with eggs and salmon, other ingredients also rich in Vitamin E.
With 2 mg per 100 grams, spinach is the richest vegetable in vitamin E after avocado. Catalan spinach is one of the most classic ways of consuming it –and it also has pine nuts–, but we also recommend trying them in this salad with chicken and soy or in the form of fritatta.
We continue with another green vegetable (the color that indicates that a vegetable has enough vitamin E), with 1.5 mg per 100 grams.
Asparagus is now in full season and we can enjoy it with recipes as appetizing as this light cream with asparagus, peas and ham or this warm salad of wild asparagus and poached egg.
We continue to bingo with our favorite cruciferous, which has 1.4 mg of vitamin E per 100 grams.
On Direct to the Palate We have hundreds of recipes with broccoli, but lately we can highlight these exquisite noodles with broccoli, turmeric and fresh chives, this cream of broccoli, coconut milk and mascarpone or this wonderful broccoli with yogurt and mustard.
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