5 Minerals for Better Health

Try these minerals for better health

| March/April 1999

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Five Minerals for the Body

It's difficult to get the 100 IU of vitamin E thought to be good for heart health from food alone.

Nuts and oil-rich seeds  have provided humans with vitamin E for millennia, but only in the past fifty years has the vitamin developed a reputation as a valuable nutrient. Today a large body of research attests to the benefits of vitamin E for heart disease, tissue inflammation, arthritis, cataracts, cancer, bronchial disease, menopause, and Parkinson’s disease.

Two landmark studies conducted by Harvard Medical School established the value of vitamin E in the minds of conventional doctors in 1993. The Physicians Health Study followed more than 39,000 male physicians for four years and showed that physicians who used a daily supplement of at least 100 IU of vitamin E for at least two years showed a 40 percent reduction in heart disease. In the Nurses Health Study, 87,000 female nurses filled out questionnaires on diets and lifestyle habits over an eight-year period. After adjusting for age and the use of other antioxidants, researchers found that the nurses who had the highest intake of vitamin E, mostly from supplements, had a 36 percent lower risk of heart disease.

More recent research published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1997 has shown that vitamin E may also help treat Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and poor immune function.

Do you want supplements?

It’s difficult to get from food alone the 100-plus IU of vitamin E thought to be good for heart health—especially from a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet that typically excludes some of the primary sources of that vitamin E, such as vegetable oils, egg yolks, nuts, seeds, and margarine. A few vegetables such as asparagus and turnip greens are good sources, but overall, vegetables are not a major source.

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