Amazing Antioxidant, Vitamin E

Don’t banish all fats from your family’s diet: essential vitamin E with its anti-ageing powers is mostly found in foods containing ‘good’ fats. So bake our tasty Carrot Torte for the family and give them their daily dose of vitamins.

why do families need vitamin E?

Most of us have heard of antioxidants – well vitamin E is a very powerful player in this group and as such, helps fight substances called free radicals in our body. Free radicals can harm cells, tissues, and organs. They are believed to play a role in certain conditions related to ageing. Luckily, vitamin E is relatively easy to find naturally in foods, is added to others, and is also available as a dietary supplement.

The diet and environment our families are exposed to these days is unfortunately full of free radicals, so you need to be on the look out: steer clear of polyunsaturated fats; environmental exposures, such as cigarette smoke and air pollution; and UV radiation from the sun. If you can get more antioxidants into your diet, then you can help undo the damage, and protect your family. Just one more reason to make sure you obtain a decent intake of vitamin E from your diet.

Here are some good reasons to keep your family’s levels at the optimum:

  • helps our immune system fight off viruses and bacteria
  • good for our blood health
  • helps us maintain healthy skin
  • helps heal damaged tissue, such as grazed knees and stubbed toes

what happens when you don’t get enough?

Vitamin E deficiency is rare and almost never caused by a poor diet. Instead, there are three specific situations when a vitamin E deficiency is likely to occur. It has been found in premature,  very low birth weight infants (birth weights less than 1500 grams, or 3.5 pounds), people who cannot absorb dietary fat; those with rare disorders of fat metabolism (as the digestive tract requires fat to absorb vitamin E).

Too little vitamin E may cause the following:

  • low energy
  • low immunity to infection
  • Alzheimer’s (a factor of)
  • anaemia
  • PMT
  • leg cramps or growing pains
  • poor circulation

how much does your family need?

mums and dads:  Men from 19-years-old should have 10mg per day, while women from 19-years-old should have 7mg per day.

kids: The recommended daily intakes for vitamin E are:

  • Infants up to 6-months: 4mg per day
  • 7-months to 3-years: 5mg per day
  • 4- to 8-years for both boys and girls: 6mg per day
  • Boys 9- to 13-years-old: 9mg per day
  • Girls 9- to 13-years-old: 8mg per day
  • Boys 14- to 18-years-old: 10mg per day
  • Girls 14- to 18-years-old: 8mg per day

pregnant/breastfeeding: There is no evidence of increased needs for vitamin E during pregnancy; however, breastfeeding women should have a higher intake of 11mg/day to compensate for loss through breastmilk.

what happens if you have too much?


Eating vitamin E in foods is not risky or harmful. In supplement form, however, high doses of vitamin E acts to thin the blood and therefore might increase the risk for bleeding and serious bleeding in the brain. High levels of vitamin E may also increase the risk of birth defects.

great vitamin E foods for the family

Vitamin E is also useful to improve the consumption of fat in the body. Did you know that foods containing vitamin E also contain healthy fats? Here are some of the foods that are the best sources of vitamin E:

  • nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, Brazil nuts)
  • seeds
  • wheat germ oil
  • sunflower oil
  • canola oil
  • olive oil
  • soybean oil
  • fortified cereals
  • green leafy vegetables, like lettuce, spinach, broccoli
  • avocado
  • kiwifruit
  • mango
  • tomato

Here is a vitamin E-rich cake which will make a great afternoon tea treat and is full of goodness. It even contains a significant amount of vegetables. In addition to vitamin E, hazelnuts and almonds contain iron, zinc and magnesium and are also quite high in protein, so they are good foods to try and include regularly into your family’s diet.

However, some people may be allergic to nuts, so always be careful when offering them to young children. Offer them alone in small quantities first to make sure they do not trigger an allergic reaction before including them into other foods.

carrot torte

Serves 12

Ingredients
150g ground almonds

150g whole hazelnuts

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

240g grated carrots

4 eggs

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

55g icing sugar

70g honey

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 heaped tablespoons natural yoghurt

Directions
Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Grease a 23cm (9 inch) round baking tin.

Finely chop the hazelnuts. Peel and finely grate the carrots. Place in a bowl with the ground almonds and mix in the baking powder and sunflower oil.

Add the egg yolks, vanilla essence, icing sugar, honey, cinnamon and yoghurt. Mix until well combined.

Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until firm. Delicately fold into the mixture.

Pour this mixture into the prepared tin and fan bake for 30 minutes or until a fine skewer or toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin before transferring to a serving plate.

Enjoy warm or cold, with a dollop of yoghurt of cream on the side

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