Did you know that Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin (B9) and is often used in combination with other B vitamins to provide a host of health benefits? Folate is a crucial nutrient for optimal health and is naturally found in a variety of foods as well as in its synthetic form as Folic Acid. This week, we are going to talk all about Folate and Folic Acid – the health benefits, the recommended dosages, and the best natural sources to meet your needs! Read on to learn more!!
This week’s Nutrients by the Alphabet: Folate
That’s right, in this new series – Nutrients by the Alphabet – you will learn all about important nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants), their health benefits, and easy and delicious ways to get more of the good stuff with a fun recipe to try each week (courtesy of my awesome student-intern from Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School – Shelby Persechino)!
So, what are the health benefits of Folate?
Folate is important for optimal development of the human body (that’s right, every single cell in the human body requires folate)! It’s involved in producing DNA and in several other bodily functions. This is why Folate is especially important for pregnant women and fetal health - it helps prevent miscarriages and neural tube birth defects. Consuming Folate can lower homocysteine levels in people with serious kidney disease, can help prevent colon and cervical cancer, heart disease and stroke, and reduces the harmful effects of methotrexate (a medicine) such as nausea and vomiting. Folate can also reduce the risk of age related vision loss, improve symptoms of depression, reduce high blood pressure, and improve symptoms of vitiligo. You can apply synthetic folic acid directly to your gums to treat gum infections. Folate is also helpful with memory loss, sleeping problems, muscle and nerve pains, jumpy legs, and weak bones. Furthermore, Folate helps the body utilize iron, vitamin B12, and amino acids and protects cognitive function (which helps to prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s). Phew, now that was a long list of health benefits! Now do you see why Folate is such an awesome nutrient?!?!
So, how much Folate do you need and where can you find it?
The RDA for folic acid for adults is 400 mcg, while adult woman planning to become pregnant or who are currently pregnant should have 800-1,000 mcg daily. The best foods to increase your intake of Folate include: spinach, beef liver, black eyed peas, asparagus, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, mustard greens, kidney beans, romaine lettuce, avocado, wheat germ, orange, etc.
Need some ideas for a recipe to increase your Folate intake in a delicious and nutritious way? Here is a slow cooker beef and broccoli recipe from “Dr. Axe”.
Now that looks like a delicious date night dinner!! Am I right!?