If all the hype about vitamin E were true, you could live well past age 100 and have the sex drive and youthful appearance of a teenager. Vitamin E is no magical fountain of youth, but it does provide significant health benefits.
What Is It?
Vitamin E is really a group of fat-soluble compounds that are stored in fatty tissue throughout your body and in the liver. Its main function is the prevention of tissue breakdown. Unfortunately, vitamin E is one nutrient that is difficult to obtain in optimal amount from moderate-calorie foods.
Why You Need It
Working as an antioxidant, vitamin E protects various tissues from destruction by free radicals. Vitamin E has been shown to help prevent age-related damage and deterioration to skin, blood vessels and the eyes.
Vitamin E helps protect the thymus gland and circulation white blood cells from damage. It also helps protect immune function during chronic viral illness.
Best Natural Food Sources
- Peanut butter
- Sunflower seeds
- Wheat germ
More or Less?
Increased or decreased nutrient needs should always be discussed with your healthcare professional. You may need higher than recommended amounts of vitamin E if you:
- Are age 50+
- Abuse alcohol
- Have been exposed to high levels of pollution
If You Get Too Little
It’s rare to have a full-blown vitamin E deficiency. Symptoms may include fatigue, joint pain and muscular pain. In rare cases, low vitamin E levels have been linked to neurological damage and shortened life of red blood cells.
If You Take Too Much
Too much vitamin E can cause breast tenderness, depression, diarrhea, double vision, fatigue, intestinal cramping, gas, mood swings and weak muscles. High doses can also interfere with the effectiveness of anticoagulant (blood thinning) medicines prescribed to prevent blood clotting. Continued high intakes deplete vitamin A stores. The minimum toxic dose of vitamin E is 800 IU.
- Dip bread lightly in olive oil instead of spreading it with butter.
- Toss some walnuts into your morning oatmeal or afternoon salad.
- Choose cold-pressed oils; they have higher levels of vitamins E.
Shrimp Risotto with Lemon & Garlic
Parsley, lemon peel and garlic give this simple dish a special flourish, and shrimp offers plenty of vitamin E.
What you need:
- ½ cup shopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (14.5-oz) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup water
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 12 oz. shelled, deveined uncooked medium shrimp, each cut into 2 or 3 pieces
- Dash of crushed red pepper
- 1 Cup Arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
How to make it:
- In a small bowl, combine parsley, lemon peel and garlic; toss with a fork to mix.
- In a large saucepan, combine chicken broth and water; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; keep broth at a low simmer.
- In a Dutch oven, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat until hot. Add shrimp; cook about 2 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and opaque in center, stirring occasionally. Transfer to plate.
- Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to Dutch oven. Add shallots and red pepper; cook 30 seconds to 1 minute or until shallots are tender, stirring constantly. Add rice; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add wine; cook about 30 seconds or until almost evaporated, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup of the hot broth; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed stirring constantly. Continue to simmer 18 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, adding broth about ½ cup at a time waiting until most of it has been absorbed before adding more, until rice is just tender and risotto has a creamy consistency.
- Add shrimp; cook about 1 minute or until heated through. Remove risotto from heat. Stir in parsley mixture, lemon juice and pepper.