It is only since 1966 that Vitamin E has been recognised as essential for our health, but it is now understood to fulfil a vast number of essential functions in the human body. Vitamin E has antioxidant properties, supports the immune system, and has been implicated in helping to prevent diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Furthermore, as our bodies cannot manufacture Vitamin E, it has to be acquired either from food or via supplements.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants help to protect your cell membranes from the harmful action of unstable oxygen molecules known as free radicals. It is believed that these free radicals are a factor in conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Vitamin E is one of a number of compounds that help clear away these free radicals.
- The immune system: This is the system that helps protect you against a whole range of diseases. Vitamin E helps protecting the thymus gland and the circulating white blood cells, keeping the immune system working optimally.
- Cardiovascular disease: Insufficient intake of Vitamin E increases the risk of heart disease. It appears to both lower blood cholesterol levels and also decrease the formation of blood clots.
- Eye problems: Vitamin E is essential to the health of your eyes, helping to protect against the formation of cataracts and macular degeneration.
- Cancer: Vitamin E appears to help reduce the incidence of cancer in the lungs, cervix, and gastrointestinal tract.
So how do you get ensure that you get enough of this essential substance in your diet? Good dietary sources include wholegrain cereals, eggs, wheatgerm and wheatgerm oil, sunflower oil, almond oil, and green leafy vegetables such as broccoli.
Other sources include sweet potatoes, molasses, nuts, organ meats, oatmeal, and desiccated liver. Alternatively, you can take a daily supplement.