August 2000
E is for Antioxidant

Your spelling teacher might not agree, but your nutritionist will tell you it's true: vitamin E is an antioxidant: it helps your body battle premature aging, some cancers, heart disease, cataracts, and other degenerative diseases.

Grocery Shopping How much E do you need? "The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) has recently been raised from 10 milligrams per day to 15 mg for all adults," says Bridgeport Hospital cardiac rehabilitation dietitian Deborah Zippel, MS, RD (registered dietitian).

If you like to get your vitamins from foods rather than supplements, check out the list of good sources below. (You'll note that these vitamin-E-rich foods are mostly fatty or oily—nuts, peanut butter, oils. That's because E is a fat-soluble vitamin, carried and stored in fats. Calorie counters may want to go for the less fatty sources, such as grapes or spinach.)

Should you take a vitamin E supplement? Talk to your doctor. "Some heart disease patients can benefit from very high doses—about 270 mg, or 400 IUs (International Units, which is how vitamin E supplements are measured)," says Stuart Zarich, MD, chief of Cardiovascular Diseases in The Heart Institute at Bridgeport Hospital. "But this is not something to do without talking to your cardiologist."

For a referral to a physician, check out our Find a Physician section of this website. Or, call Bridgeport Hospital Services Referral at 888-357-2396.

Vitamin E
Food Amount # of milligrams
Sunflower 2 Tbl. 8.9 mg
Peanut butter 2 Tbl. 6 mg
Wheat germ 1/4 cup 5.3 mg
Sweet potato 1/2 cup 5.2 mg
Safflower oil 1 Tbl. 4.6 mg
Tomato sauce, canned 1/2 cup 1.63 mg
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 1.63 mg
Almonds Grapes 1.06 mg
Tuna, white, canned 3 oz. 1.4 mg

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