Vitamin E: Benefits and Food Sources

The vitamins and minerals supplied by a varied, balanced diet are substances necessary for the body to grow, develop normally and stay healthy. Read on as we look in particular at vitamin E, why it’s important, how much of it we need and how to get it through your diet.

Why vitamin E is important

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that the body stores excess in the liver and adipose (fat) tissue. It can be found naturally in food, in supplements and as an ingredient in many skincare products that boast its beneficial properties.

The body needs vitamin E to help protect cells from oxidative stress. Oxygen is of course vital to life, however it can impart stress on cells, which in turn can result in various negative health consequences. By helping to protect the body’s cells from this oxidative stress, vitamin E has a significant impact on overall long term health.

What happens if you don’t get enough Vitamin E

Vitamin E deficiency is very rare in healthy people and is almost always linked to certain diseases in which fats are not properly digested or absorbed, like Crohn's disease and cystic fibrosis. It is rare to become deficient as vitamin E is fat soluble- meaning that, if we eat too little at a given time, the body can draw from the liver and fat stores. 

Eating vitamin E-rich food is not risky or harmful, however if high dose supplements are taken there is a possibility of toxicity for the body- as the body will continue to store excesses in the liver and adipose. However, experiencing toxicity from vitamin E is rare.

How much vitamin E do we need?

In the UK, men typically need 4 mg a day, while women need 3 mg daily. The good news is that you can easily eat these amounts in your diet. Plus, any vitamin E you don’t need immediately is stored by your body for future use, to draw on if one day you don’t eat quite enough.

You can get the recommended amounts of vitamin E by eating a variety of foods, including:

  • -vegetable oils, including rapeseed, sunflower or wheat germ oil
  • plant oils like soya, corn and olive oil
  • -nuts such as peanuts, hazelnuts and especially almonds
  • seeds (particularly sunflower seeds)
  • green vegetables

Find out more about other important vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C or vitamin D and their food sources. Or discover our nutrition hub and learn all about how to achieve a balanced diet with Birds Eye frozen foods.