Ohio State University Extension Fact sheet

Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet

Department of Human Nutrition and OSU Extension,

Ohio State University, Department of Human Nutrition
1787 Neil Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210

Vitamin E


This fact sheet is one in a series containing information to help you select foods that provide adequate daily amounts of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee just released the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 that convey the following nine major messages concerning these topics:

Why do we need vitamin E?

Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin, is an antioxidant vitamin involved in the metabolism of all cells. It protects vitamin A and essential fatty acids from oxidation in the body cells and prevents breakdown of body tissues.

What is a good source of vitamin E?

A good food source of vitamin E contains a substantial amount of vitamin E in relation to its calorie content and contributes at least 10 percent of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin E in a selected serving size. The U.S. RDA for vitamin E is 15 milligrams alpha-tocopherol equivalents per day for both men and women ages 19 and older. Alpha-tocopherol is a form of vitamin E that is easily converted by the body to vitamin E. The U.S. RDA is changed for pregnant or lactating women—consult your healthcare provider.

Good Sources of Vitamin E
FoodServing SizeMilligrams% RDA
Egg, whole, fresh1 large0.885.8
Almond oil1 tablespoon5.335.3
Corn oil1 tablespoon1.912.6
Corn oil (Mazola)1 tablespoon35
Cottonseed oil1 tablespoon4.832
Olive oil1 tablespoon1.610.6
Palm oil1 tablespoon2.617.3
Peanut oil 1 tablespoon1.610.6
Safflower oil1 tablespoon4.630.6
Soybean oil1 tablespoon1.510
Sunflower oil 1 tablespoon6.140.6
Vegetable-oil spray2.5 second spray0.513.4
Wheat-germ oil1 tablespoon20.3 135.3
Tomato juice6 fluid ounces0.42.6
Apple with skin1 medium0.815.4
Mango, raw1 medium2.3215.4
Macaroni pasta, enriched1 cup1.036.8
Spaghetti pasta, enriched1 cup 1.036.8
Almonds, dried1 ounce6.7244.8
Hazelnuts, dried1 ounce 6.744.6
Peanut butter (Skippy)1 tablespoon35
Peanuts, dried1 ounce2.5617
Pistachio nuts, dried1 ounce1.46 9.7
Walnuts, English1 ounce 0.734.8
Margarine (Mazola)1 tablespoon8 53.3
Margarine (Parkay, diet)1 tablespoon0.42.6
Mayonnaise (Hellmann’s) 1 tablespoon1173.3
Miracle Whip (Kraft)1 tablespoon0.53.3
Avocado, raw1 medium2.3215.4
Asparagus, frozen4 spears1.157.6
Spinach, raw1/2 cup0.533.5
Sweet potato1 medium5.9339.5
Tomato, red, raw1 tomato 0.422.8
Turnip greens, raw1/2 cup chopped 0.634.2

Do we get enough vitamin E?

According to recent surveys of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the intake of vitamin E by women 19–50 years of age averages less than 90 percent of the RDA. Americans consume roughly 7–9 milligrams compared to the recommended 15 milligrams. Generally Americans consume two-thirds of their vitamin E intake from salad oils, shortenings, and margarines. Eleven percent is from fruits and vegetables and the other 7 percent is from grains and grain products. The diagram below shows where vitamin E is located on the Food Guide Pyramid.

How can we get enough vitamin E?

Eating a variety of foods that contain vitamin E is the best way to get an adequate amount. Healthy individuals who eat a balanced diet rarely need supplements. The table in this fact sheet will help you select foods that are good sources of vitamin E. Since vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, people on low-fat diets can have trouble getting enough of the vitamin. Therefore, dietary fat should be monitored and not reach below safe limits.

How to prepare foods to retain vitamin E.

Vitamin E can be lost from foods during preparation, cooking, or storage. To retain vitamin E:

  1. Use whole-grain flours.
  2. Store foods in airtight containers and avoid exposing them to light.

What about fortified foods?

Most ready-to-eat cereals are fortified with vitamin E. Fortified ready-to-eat cereals usually contain at least 40% of the U.S. RDA for vitamin E.

What is a serving?

The serving sizes used in the table in this fact sheet are only estimates of the amounts of food you might eat. The amount of a nutrient in a serving depends on the weight of the serving. For example, 1/2 cup canned fruit contains more vitamin E than 1/2 cup of the same fruit served raw, because a serving of the canned fruit weighs more. Therefore, the canned fruit may appear on the list while the raw form does not. The raw fruit provides the nutrient—but just not enough in a 1/2-cup serving to be considered a good source.


Updated and revised November 2004 by Jackie Mosure, Dietetic Intern, College of Human Ecology.

Click here for PDF version of this Fact Sheet.

OSU Extension embraces human diversity and is committed to ensuring that all educational programs conducted by Ohio State University Extension are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, age, gender identity or expression, disability, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or veteran status.

Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Director, OSU Extension
TDD No. 800-589-8292 (Ohio only) or 614-292-6181

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