We’re back again, once more looking at the composition of hemp oil.
Last time out, we answered the question, “What is B-Sitosterol?”
In this article, we are investigating yet another component of hemp seed oil: Alpha (A)-Tocopherol.
A-Tocopherol is the strongest of the tocopherol elements. Naturally found in a number of foods (more on this below), A-Tocopherol is joined by beta, gamma, and delta forms of tocopherol in making up what we consider vitamin E.
It and the other vitamin E substances are antioxidants, which help the body in fighting off a number of degenerative conditions. Vitamin E is also beneficial to overall body function and should be consumed as part of a regular, healthy diet.
Where You’ll Find It (And How Much You Need of It)
A-Tocopherol is naturally found in a huge number of foods. From vegetables and oils to nuts and seeds, it has also been added to foods such as breakfast cereals as a means of boosting its nutritional content.
There are several health benefits attached to eating foods rich in A-Tocopherol as part of a balanced diet – we’ll discuss those shortly – and, by making sure your plate is full of food containing vitamin E and other naturally occurring vitamins, you’ll be doing yourself (and your body) a big favor.
The recommended allowance for A-Tocopherol differs with age and sex.
Both adults and teenagers should consume around 15 milligrams a day while children aged between 9 and 13 require 11 milligrams. Children aged between 1 and 8 years old should consume between 6 and 7 milligrams every day, and newborns and infants should consume around 4 or 5 milligrams.
New mothers who are breastfeeding should look to consume at least 19 milligrams a day.
So, now that you know how much you need to eat based on your age, sex, and breastfeeding situation, let’s take a quick look at the foodstuffs positively brimming with A-Tocopherol.
If you find yourself standing in the vegetable aisle of your local supermarket, scratching your head and wondering which ones contain A-Tocopherol, then it’s simple – the green ones!
Green vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, and turnip greens contain around 2 milligrams of vitamin E in a 1 cup serving, while spinach provides around 4 milligrams.
You’ll also find A-Tocopherol in tomatoes and tomato-based products and orange vegetables such as carrots and pumpkin, containing 1.6 milligrams and 2 milligrams in a 1 cup serving, respectively.
Nuts and Seeds
Another tremendous source of A-Tocopherol, edible nuts such as almonds are also ideal for snacking if you’re in need of a vitamin E boost.
Speaking of almonds, they contain around 7.5 milligrams in every 1 ounce serving (which is roughly 23 almonds). You’ll also find anywhere between 0.5 and 2 milligrams when chowing down on a 1 ounce serving of Brazil nuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and pistachios.
Meanwhile, sunflower seeds are an absolute powerhouse when it comes A-Tocopherol with a mere ¼ cup serving containing over 8 milligrams.
Oils and Other Fortified Foods
Many different oils, from vegetable to sunflower, corn, and soybean, are all excellent sources of A-Tocopherol.
A single tablespoon of sunflower oil provides around 5 milligrams of the stuff while a similar serving of the likes of soybean, corn, and olive oils will give you between 1 and 2 milligrams.
And then there’s the fortified food. Chances are you’ll eat some, or all, of these types of food at breakfast time, including cereals, margarine and other spreads, and fruit juices, all of which have been fortified with various vitamins, including vitamin E.
The amounts can and do vary, with as much as 10 milligrams present per cup of cereal, for instance. To have a better understanding of the vitamin contents of your food, check the labels.
What Are the Health Benefits of A-Tocopherol?
Perhaps that should have included the word “potential” as there’s much debate over the efficacy of Alpha Tocopherol in helping combat conditions such as glaucoma and cancer.
And it is understood that a deficiency in vitamin E can lead to anemia while too much can cause issues with blood thinners.
That being said, when it comes to the health benefits of A-Tocopherol, there are many. As an antioxidant, it can counteract free radicals, which cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can cause a whole host of serious health issues. Antioxidants can also help prevent and repair cell damage.
Additionally, vitamin E can potentially help with migraines, liver disease, muscular dystrophy, leg cramps, and circulatory problems while there have been studies undertaken to look at its impact upon coronary heart disease.
While it’s not a magic cure-all, vitamin E has a clear and important role to play in a healthy life.
And It’s in Hemp Oil Too?
A number of articles and studies have focused on the fatty acid content of hemp seed oil when discussing its nutritional value, but it’s also known to contain vitamin E among its other components.
In fact, hemp seeds contain both alpha-tocopherol (5 mg/100 g) and gamma-tocopherol (85 mg/100 g), for a total of 90 milligrams of vitamin E in a 100 gram serving.
And when pressed into an oil, the gamma-tocopherol is the clear winner, showing around 468 milligrams per litre of oil with only trace amounts of A-Tocopherol. That being said, they both have an important role to play in promoting a healthy body, particularly as they exist as effective antioxidants in their respective physiological systems.
As with just about every piece of nutritional advice, when it comes to A-Tocopherol, and vitamin E in general, it’s all about finding a healthy balance.
No matter your age or gender, by eating enough green vegetables, nuts, seeds,or fortified foods or by cooking with something like hemp oil, you ought to consume the recommended daily amount of vitamin E.
And thanks to hemp oil’s natural composition of proteins, vitamins, polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-6, and omega-3, it’s an ideal option for enhancing the flavor and nutritional value of different recipes, such as salads, smoothies, dips, and cold soups.
Just remember, you cannot use it as a frying oil. Heating it up will cause it to lose its nutritional benefit. And exposing it to high heat also serves to break down those polyunsaturated fats into harmful peroxides.
Have you tried using hemp oil in a recipe? Do you think it helped to enhance the flavor? Let us know in the comments below.