Lola Gayle, STEAM Register
Most people in the United States don't get enough vitamin E, a fat-soluble nutrient with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
However, according to a new study led by Purdue University's Wayne Campbell, we can fix this by simply adding a few whole eggs to a salad that boasts a variety of colorful vegetables.
"We found Vitamin E absorption was 4- to 7-fold higher when three whole eggs were added to a salad," said Jung Eun Kim, a postdoctoral researcher in Purdue's Department of Nutrition Science. "This study is novel because we measured the absorption of Vitamin E from real foods, rather than supplements, which contain mega-dose amounts of Vitamin E."
According to a Purdue statement, Vitamin E is absorbed along with dietary fats and can be found naturally in oils, seeds and nuts. Eggs also contain a small amount of Vitamin E, along with essential amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids and B vitamins.
This study, published in The Journal of Nutrition, supports a way to increase the absorption of Vitamin E found in foods that contain low dietary fat. In addition, the research highlights how one food can improve the nutrition value of another food when they are consumed together.
Note: The study was supported by the American Egg Board's Egg Nutrition Center, National Institutes of Health and Purdue Ingestive Behavior Research Center.
The new study follows similar research conducted by the same team in June 2015. That study showed that adding whole scrambled eggs to a raw mixed-vegetable salad led to an overall increase in the absorption of the vegetables' carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene.
Previous research conducted by Campbell and Ferruzzi also has shown that more carotenoids are absorbed when one larger salad is consumed at a meal, compared to smaller salads consumed at two meals during the day.
While both studies used scrambled eggs in order to make sure the entire eggs was consumed, I suggest sticking to hard or soft boiled eggs - depending on your own personal preferences.
Additionally, all salads were served with three grams of canola oil. If you're not a fan of canola oil, the American Heart Association lists these similar healthy choices: corn oil, peanut oil, olive oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil.
How much Vitamin E do I need?
According to the NIH's Office of Dietary Supplements, the amount of vitamin E you need each day depends on your age. Average daily recommended intakes are listed below in milligrams (mg) and in International Units (IU). Package labels list the amount of vitamin E in foods and dietary supplements in IU.
|Life Stage||Recommended Amount|
|Birth to 6 months||4 mg (6 IU)|
|Infants 7–12 months||5 mg (7.5 IU)|
|Children 1–3 years||6 mg (9 IU)|
|Children 4–8 years||7 mg (10.4 IU)|
|Children 9–13 years||11 mg (16.4 IU)|
|Teens 14–18 years||15 mg (22.4 IU)|
|Adults||15 mg (22.4 IU)|
|Pregnant teens and women||15 mg (22.4 IU)|
|Breastfeeding teens and women||19 mg (28.4 IU)|
What foods provide Vitamin E?
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, you can get recommended amounts of vitamin E by eating a variety of foods including the following:
- Vegetable oils like wheat germ, sunflower, and safflower oils are among the best sources of vitamin E. Corn and soybean oils also provide some vitamin E.
- Nuts (such as peanuts, hazelnuts, and, especially, almonds) and seeds (like sunflower seeds) are also among the best sources of vitamin E.
- Green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli, provide some vitamin E.
- Food companies add vitamin E to some breakfast cereals, fruit juices, margarines and spreads, and other foods. To find out which ones have vitamin E, check the product labels.
DISCLAIMER: This article provides information that should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your doctor, registered dietitian, pharmacist, etc. before making any important changes or dietary decision.
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- California Salad with Hard-Boiled Eggs: Courtesy The Food Network (Recipe serves 4, but it should be easy to revise for any number of people.)