Although vitamin E supplements are sold at many health food stores, the best sources of vitamin E come from a variety of natural foods. It's easy for a person to get the recommended daily amounts by just eating a variety of healthy foods that are rich in vitamin E. Some natural sources of vitamin E include certain oils, spinach, broccoli, almonds and tomatoes.
An easy way for a person to get natural sources of vitamin E is to use certain oils, such as wheat germ oil, sunflower seed oil or safflower seed oil. A spoonful of wheat germ oil contains as much vitamin E as the daily recommended intake for an adult. Corn oil and soybean oil also are good sources of vitamin E, although the concentration is less than in oil made from wheat germ, sunflower seeds or safflower seeds. It's easy for a person to whip up a simple salad dressing with one of these vitamin E-rich oils and a small amount of vinegar or lemon juice.
Other good, natural sources of vitamin E are spinach, broccoli and almonds. Instead of sunflower seed oil, the seeds themselves also can be consumed and are good sources of vitamin E. Fruits such as mangoes, kiwifruit and tomatoes also provide vitamin E and plenty of antioxidant benefits. In addition to these natural sources, other food products are fortified with vitamin E, including cereals, fruit juices and margarine. Many health experts recommend getting vitamin E from natural sources instead of fortified foods or supplements, however.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the body from the damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that are formed by the body naturally or when exposed to toxic substances such as tobacco smoke or radiation. The E vitamins are not just one type of vitamin but groups of fat-soluble compounds that help heal, repair and rejuvenate the body. In addition, they are necessary for the growth of hair, skin, fingernails and internal organs.
Symptoms of vitamin E deficiency are rare and generally affect only people who have certain diseases that cause fat to not be digested properly, such as Crohn’s disease or cystic fibrosis. A lack of this vitamin might also cause nerve damage and loss of muscle control, as it can weaken the immune system. Overdosing is rare, especially for people who eat natural sources of vitamin E, but people who take blood thinners should be cautious.