November 16, 2014

Ask the RD: Vitamin E

First of all, a HUGE happy birthday to my dad. We are celebrating 50 today with hunting and family time at the farm. Love you dad!!

When I first decided to become a dietitian, one of the topics that interested me the most was vitamins and minerals. I loved learning the benefits that each vitamin and mineral provided as well as the foods that they were found in. That is how I decided that I wanted to study nutrition! Through my schooling, we delved deeper into this topic and I enjoyed learning all about it. Today, I am going to discuss vitamin E

Vitamin E has several benefits including heart health benefits. It is an antioxidant that helps to protect the body tissue from damaging substances known as free radicals. These free radicals can damage cells, organs and issue. They also play a role in aging. Vitamin E helps to protect against this. It is also used to keep the immune system strong from bacteria and viruses. It forms red blood cells and helps the body to be able to use vitamin K and widen the blood vessels and keeps blood from clotting in them.  

As far as heart health benefits, vitamin E can help with the prevention or delay or coronary heart disease. It can also help to prevent a heart attack by preventing the formation of blood clots.

Foods rich in vitamin E include vegetable oils including corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower and wheat germ. Nuts (almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts), sunflower seeds, green leafy vegetables (spinach and broccoli) and fortified cereals and juice are all rich in vitamin E.

This is how much vitamin E is recommended per day:
  • 1 to 3 years: 6 mg/day
  • 4 to 8 years: 7 mg/day
  • 9 to 13 years: 11 mg/day
  • 14 and older: 15 mg/day
  • Pregnant teens and women: 15 mg/day
  • Breastfeeding teens and women: 19 mg/day
The topic of heart health is important to me for a few reasons. First of all, as a dietitian in health care, a majority of my patients have heart problems. Whether this is a history of heart attack, congestive heart failure, etc., most of them have some sort of heart issue. Also, my Dzia-Dzia (grandpa in Polish) had a heart attack and my dad had an issue with his heart that required heart surgery. Heart health is extremely important therefore is a topic that interests me.

Since I am breastfeeding, I am currently taking a prenatal vitamin with omega 3 in it. I also try to eat a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, calcium rich dairy, etc. I believe that proper nutrition is extremely important for staying healthy and feeling your best.

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