Warmer weather is enticing to even the most home-bodied of people.
But before you put on sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat to brave the glorious sun, here’s one more essential skin protector to add to your arsenal: mighty vitamin E.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, so it protects all of your cells (including your eyes and skin) against damage from free radicals, namely the sun’s UV rays and environmental pollutants your skin is exposed to constantly. Not to mention is its ability to protect blood vessel walls from sticky cholesterol looking to clog your arteries.
You may have noticed alpha-tocopherol or alpha-tocotrienol on the list of ingredients of your favorite lotions, they have been found to be effective skin renewers. But to take a stronger stand against cell damage, add more vitamin E-rich foods to your diet to protect your skin from the inside out.
Nuts and seeds (and their oils), whole grains, leafy greens, and vegetable oils are chock full of vitamin E. Men and women need 15mg of vitamin E every day, and if you’re a breastfeeding mom, add an extra 4mg.
Translated into food, that means: a slice of whole grain toast spread with almond butter and a cup of red peppers dipped in hummus drizzled with olive oil is enough to meet your quota.
As you can see, it doesn’t take much to take in enough vitamin E — most healthy individuals do not need an extra supplement. However, if you choose to take a supplement, make sure to take only d-alpha-tocopherol (as opposed to a synthetic form of vitamin E L-alpha-tocopherol). Also, be sure not to take more than a few hundred milligrams, especially for long periods of time.
Getting your vitamins from consuming food is always the least risky and most enjoyable way get the nutrients your body needs. So pack your picnic basket with a peanut-y whole-wheat soba noodle salad, fresh spinach with olive oil dressing, and mangos or kiwis for a sweet ending.
The vitamin C (in spinach, mangos and kiwis), selenium (in peanuts and soba noodles), and niacin (in peanuts) help your body to recycle vitamin E and renew its fighting power against destructive free radicals.
Now that’s teamwork for you, all in a pretty little picnic basket!
Copy editor: Marielena Santana