Egg Nutrition Center Blog

Nutrient Spotlight: Vitamin E

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As American Heart Month winds down, it’s a great time to remind patients and clients of the precautionary measures that can be taken year-round to prevent heart disease and improve one’s overall health. Beyond cutting back on sodium and unhealthy fats, a heart-healthy diet is also about incorporating foods that are rich in nutrients, offering a variety of health benefits.

Today’s post focuses on Vitamin E, a nutrient with beneficial antioxidant properties that may be important to heart health (1). In addition to being associated with lower rates of heart disease, Vitamin E is also involved in immune function and has been linked with prevention of some cancers, reduction of age-related eye disorders (i.e. macular degeneration, cataracts) and slowing cognitive decline/dementia (2).

Evidence that vitamin E could help prevent or delay coronary heart disease (CHD) comes from several sources – in vitro studies have found that the nutrient inhibits oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, a crucial initiating step for atherosclerosis (3). Vitamin E might also help prevent the formation of blood clots that could lead to a heart attack or venous thromboembolism (3).

Recently, concerns have been raised regarding the safety of Vitamin E supplementation, particularly in high doses (4). The best way to get all the health benefits of vitamin E is to include natural foods sources of Vitamin E in the diet. The adult RDA for Vitamin E is 15mg – which can easily be achieved through diet alone (2). The top sources of Vitamin E include nuts, seeds and vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables and whole grains. Eggs also contain Vitamin E (0.5mg per large egg) in addition to 13 other essential vitamins and minerals.

The easy recipe below is a good example of a vitamin E-rich salad combining leafy greens, tomatoes and eggs to deliver a heart-healthy, nutrient-rich meal.

Mixed Greens Salad with Eggs (pictured above)  

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 Package (7 to 9 ounces) baby lettuce mix
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 Hard-boiled eggs cut into wedges
  • ½ cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  • Divide lettuce evenly among 4 serving plates
  • Top each with 1 sliced tomato and 4 egg wedges
  • Sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons cheese

Nutrition Information

Calories: 141, Total Fat: 8g, Saturated fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated fat: 1g, Monounsaturated fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 194mg, Sodium: 157mg, Carbohydrates: 6g, Dietary Fiber: 1g, Protein: 12g, Vitamin A: 877.7IU, Vitamin D: 43.5IU, Folate: 31.3mcg, Calcium: 132.5mg, Iron: 1mg, Choline: 116.8mg

References:

(1)    Verhagen H, Buijsse B, Jansen E, Bueno-de-Mesquita B. The state of antioxidant affairs. Nutr Today 2006;41:244-50.
(2)    Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin E. Retrieved from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/
(3)    National Academy Press. Dietary Reference Intakes: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids.Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=9810.
(4)    Mayo Clinic. Vitamin E. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-e/NS_patient-vitamine

Author: Anna Shlachter MS, RDN, LDN