An antioxidant fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin E helps your body fight free radical damage which may be responsible for aging. It also helps with immune function and maintaining certain metabolic processes. It could even play a role in warding off chronic diseases like heart disease or cancer.1
Vitamin E is a nutrient you’d imagine is largely found in oils – and you’d be right. Interestingly, however, there are a variety of other delicious foods to cater to all kinds of dietary restrictions – including pescetarian, vegetarian, and vegan diets – that can ensure you get adequate vitamin E without having to down lots of oil! So here’s a baker’s dozen of foods that have a good amount of vitamin E and are worth your attention.
Adults Need 15 Mg Of The Vitamin
Deficiency of vitamin E can cause you to experience muscle and nerve damage, resulting in loss of sensation in your arms and legs, muscle weakness, loss of control in limb/body movements, and even vision issues. It could also cause your immune system to take a hit, making you weaker and more vulnerable to infections.2
Most adults require 15 mg of vitamin E daily as per the recommended daily allowances (RDA) suggested by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.3 Nursing mothers need around 19 mg a day. The daily value (DV) of the vitamin you should aim at getting in mirrors the RDA. So when it comes to foods rich in vitamin E, look for those that have 20% DV or more, which translates to 3 mg or more.4 Here’s a look at some of the best food sources of vitamin E.
- Almonds: 6.8 mg (45.3% DV)
- Hazelnuts: 4.3 mg (28.7% DV)
- Pine nuts: 2.65 mg (17.7% DV)
- Peanuts: 2.2 mg (14.7% DV)
You can use these nuts in a variety of ways depending on your palate. A fresh salad could always do with some nutty crunch. Sprinkle some into a cake or brownie and take it up a notch. You may even choose to use them in Moroccan or middle eastern recipes or make an indulgent creamy curry, with the nuts blended up as a thickening agent.
2. Sunflower Seeds
An ounce of sunflower seeds: 9.85 mg of vitamin E (65.7% DV)
Seeds aren’t just for birds! In fact, these oft-overlooked food sources are a good way to get your vitamin E hassle-free. Sunflower seeds contain 35.17 mg per 100 gm, which means you’d get around 9.85 mg or 65.7% DV to the ounce.7 Scatter them over your morning cereal or oatmeal or top your home-baked loaf of bread with them for a delicious bite. You could even turn them into a healthier alternative to breadcrumbs in recipes that need them or use them in pesto or tacos.
3. Vegetable Oils
As little as a tablespoon of many vegetable oils can give you 20% or more of your DV for vitamin E. For instance,
- Wheat germ oil, one of the best sources of the nutrient, has 20.3 mg per tablespoon. Which means you’d get 135% DV from this little amount.
- Sunflower oil has 5.6 mg (37.3% DV) and safflower oil has 4.6 mg(30.7% DV) in the same amount of oil.
- Corn oil has 1.9 mg(12.7% DV) and soybean oil has 1.1 mg (7.3% DV) per tablespoon.8
- Rice bran oil has 4.39 mg to the tablespoon (29.3% DV).9
These oils can be used for cooking or incorporated into salad dressings or even for baking.
4. Nut Oils And Nut Butters
- Two tablespoons of almond butter: 7.74 mg of vitamin E (51.6% DV)
- Two tablespoons of peanut butter: 2.9 mg of vitamin E (19.3% DV)
Oils and butters made from nuts are another way to get your vitamin E. Larder staple peanut butter makes the cut so you don’t have to break the bank buying expensive artisanal butters for your vitamin E boost. Slather on just two tablespoons of peanut butter and you’ll get 2.9 mg of vitamin E (19.3% DV).10 If you have a taste for almond butter, that same serving size gives you 7.74 mg of vitamin E (51.6% DV).11
- A tablespoon of hazelnut oil: 6.42 mg of the vitamin (42.8% DV)
- A tablespoon of almond oil: 5.33 mg of vitamin E (35.5 % DV)
Hazelnut oil has 6.42 mg of the vitamin and meets 42.8% DV per tablespoon.12 Its sweet and nutty aroma and flavor make it a delight in baked goodies as well as salad dressings. Almond oil is another nut oil you might like. It is best used without heating and works nicely in recipes like hummus or in sauces/dressings. It also lends itself to use in baking. A tablespoon of the oil contains 5.33 mg of vitamin E (35.5 % DV).13
5. Mamey Sapote
A cup of mamey sapote: 3.69 mg of vitamin E (24.6% DV)
Get 3.69 mg or 24.6% DV of vitamin E out of just one cup of mamey sapote.14 This exotic fruit is great eaten as it is, but you may also want to try using it in cakes or smoothies or juices. Pulp the fresh fruit and use it for a very unusual version of bread pudding. Or try it out as a glaze for your favorite poultry.
A cup of cooked spinach: 3.74 mg of vitamin E (24.9% DV)
For vegans and vegetarians, and basically anyone looking to eat fresh, healthy food, greens are a great source of nutrients in general. A cup of cooked spinach has an impressive 3.74 mg of vitamin E (24.9% DV).15 Use this green leafy vegetable in Indian spinach gravies with meat or cottage cheese or vegetables like corn. Or make a warming bowl of creamy spinach soup or a healthy green juice that combines the leaves with cucumber.
A 3 ounce serving of abalone: 3.4 mg of vitamin E (22.7% DV)
These mollusks have 3.4 mg of vitamin E (22.7% DV) in every 3 ounce serving.16 Sauteed abalone with butter, garlic, and lemon is hard to beat and simple to make. You could also pan fry them or experiment with some heavenly Asian recipes using chili, garlic, and a host of other herbs and spices. Connoisseurs take special pleasure in eating a well-made abalone salad.
8. Dried Apricots
A cup of dried apricots: 5.63 mg of vitamin E (9.4% DV)
A cup of dried apricots has 5.63 mg of vitamin E, so even if you have a standard serving of a quarter cup, you still get 1.41 mg or 9.4% DV.17 Use them generously in cookies, cakes, granola bars, or in desserts like rice puddings. You could also consider pairing them with savory flavors in pilafs, tagines, and salads.
9. Fish Like Sardines And Mackerel
- A cup of canned sardines: 1.23 mg of vitamin E (8.2% DV)
- A 3 ounce serving of mackerel: 1.06 mg of vitamin E (7.1% DV)
Some fish like sardines are a good source of vitamin E, with over 20% DV. Canned sardines in tomato sauce with bone, for instance, have 1.23 mg (8.2% DV) per cup serving of 89 gm.18 Sardines in the can may be used, sauce and all, to make a filling and delicious breakfast along with shallots and herbs. Break a couple of fresh eggs over this and bake for a heavenly treat. Or convert your sardines into a moreish pate made with yogurt, cottage cheese, and a twist of lemon. You could even top your favorite flatbread or pizza with some.
Mackerel has 1.06 mg of the nutrient per 3 ounce serving, which is 7.1% DV of the vitamin.19 With a fish like mackerel, pan frying, smoking, or grilling all work well. While many Asian recipes do complete justice to the mackerel, you could do just as well using it in risotto or fish cakes.
- A cup of pureed avocado: 4.76 mg of vitamin E (31.7% DV)
- A cup of cubed avocado: 3.1 mg of vitamin E (20.7% DV)
A cup of cubed avocado has 3.1 mg (20.7% DV) of vitamin E while a cup of pureed avocado has 4.76 mg (31.7% DV).20 Avocados form a great base for some delicious dips and fillings for tacos, sandwiches, smoothies, and more. You could even rustle up a quick and filling snack by mashing avocado up with some honey; or make a savory, on-the-go tummy pleaser by pairing cubed avocados with finely chopped onions and red peppers.
A cup of boiled broccoli: 2.4 mg of vitamin E (16% DV)
A cup of boiled broccoli has 2.4 mg of vitamin E, which meets 16% DV of the vitamin.21 Use this cruciferous vegetable in quick and easy stir-fries with or without meat. Lace up with sauces and spices if you’re going the Asian route. Alternatively, make a mild but pleasing creamy cheesy sauce to go with some lightly steamed broccoli or bake it all au gratin style.
12. Butternut Squash
A cup of cooked squash: 2.64 mg of vitamin E (17.6% DV)
Butternut squash is another vegetarian source of vitamin E. Each cup of the cooked squash has 2.64 mg of vitamin E (17.6% DV).22 Enjoy it baked or roasted with your choice of spices and perhaps even a light sprinkling of brown sugar to help the squash caramelize. Or use it to create a bowl of soup so delicious that it feels like a warm hug!
13. Red Peppers
A cup of sweet red peppers: 2.35 mg of vitamin E (15.7% DV)
A cup of sweet red peppers has 2.35 mg of the vitamin, which meets 15.7% DV.23 Add them to ratatouille, roast them off to use in smoky dips, or fill them with cottage cheese, wild rice, or minced meat before baking for a filling meal.
Vitamin E enriched foods are also available from some manufacturers. Check labels for fortified foods to see which ones contain them and in what amounts. Typically, fruit juices, margarine, and breakfast cereals are foods that have added vitamin E.24
|↑1||Vitamin E. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑2, ↑24||Vitamin E. Office of Dietary Supplements.|
|↑3, ↑5, ↑21||Vitamin E. Office of Dietary Supplements.|
|↑4||Labeling Daily Values. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑6||Nuts, pine nuts, dried. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|↑7||Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, dried. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|↑8, ↑10||Vitamin E. Office of Dietary Supplements.|
|↑9||Oil, rice bran. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|↑11||Nuts, almond butter, plain, without salt added. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|↑12||Oil, hazelnut. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|↑13||Oil, almond. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|↑14||Sapote, mamey, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|↑15||Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|↑16||Mollusks, abalone, mixed species, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|↑17||Apricots, dried, sulfured, uncooked. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|↑18||Fish, sardine, Pacific, canned in tomato sauce, drained solids with bone. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|↑19||Fish, mackerel, Pacific and jack, mixed species, cooked, dry heat. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|↑20||Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|↑22||Squash, winter, butternut, cooked, baked, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|↑23||Peppers, sweet, red, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|