Folate also known as vitamin B9 is naturally found in many foods and has many important functions in your body. Folates can be present naturally in foods and also some processed foods. Folate is necessary for producing healthy Red and White Blood Cells, helps to form DNA and many more. In this article, we look at foods that are high in folate, the health benefits of folate and its deficiency symtoms.
Foods that are high in folate
The richest naturally occurring sources of folate are :
- Beef liver : Beef liver is an organ meat from cow which contains 215 micrograms of folate per 3oz (85-gram). Folate also contains high amounts of protein, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B12 and copper.
- Legumes : Legumes belong to the fabaceae plant family that includes beans, peas, and lentils. They are excellent source of folate and many other nutrients like protein, fiber, iron, magnesium and antioxidants. For example, pinto beans contain 294 micrograms of folate per one-cup serving, while blackeye peas contain 122 micrograms per one-cup serving (canned).
- Asparagus : Asparagus is a vegetable that is rich in fiber and contains some of the highest levels of folate. It also rich in vitamin K and antioxidant like vitamin C. Example 7 Asparagus can boasts of 89 micrograms (mcg) of folate per four spears.
- Spinach : Spinach is a best plant-base source of folate. A half-cup cooked spinach contains 130 mcg of folate . Spinach also contains iron, vitamin A and C
Other sources are
Health Benefits of folate
Folate has health benefits like :
- Folates lowers risk of neural tube defects: An adequate amount of folic acid is essential to prevent neural tube defects especially during pregnancy.
- Lowers risk of stroke. Researchers have found that that folic acid supplements lower levels of the amino acid homocysteine. High levels of this amino acid are linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease like heart diseases and stroke.
- Folate protects against cancer. Folate plays a key role in cell growth and building DNA, the complex molecule that forms our genetic blueprint. It is believed that folate may play a role in both suppressing some types of early cancer, as well as progressing established cancers if high doses of folic acid are used.
Folate deficiency symptoms
Folate deficiency can cause a wide range of symptoms like :
- muscle weakness
- problems with judgment, memory, and understanding
- paresthesia, or pins and needles
- a red, sore tongue
- ulcers in the mouth
- vision problems
- depression and confusion
Folate is necessary and important for the body and people must be able to obtain sufficient of it in their diet by eating plenty of vegetables, fruit, beans and whole grains . It’ll protect the body against cancer, heart diseases and improve other aspects of your health.