Folate is a member of the B vitamins family and is essential to the formation of red and white blood cells in the bone marrow, the conversion of carbohydrates into energy and the production of DNA and RNA. For those with or without cancer, folate or vitamin B9 benefits the body and can promote an improved state of well-being.
- Good for the heart. Individuals deficient in folate will accumulate high blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine—and this may lead to atherosclerosis or plaque build-up in our arteries. Appropriate dietary intake of folate will help maintain better homocysteine levels to impede plaque build-up and narrowing of the arteries—a risk for stroke and heart disease.
- Keeping “bad” cholesterol in check. Maintaining appropriately low levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or so-called “bad” cholesterol is important to the body’s ability to reduce inflammation—a process also involved in arterial plaque build-up. Folate is a proven dietary tool to maintain low LDL levels in the body.
- Symptoms if you’re low: Low energy, poor digestion, frequent sickness, anemia, canker sores, mood swings, paleness, premature grey hair: Any or all of these symptoms are attributable to diverse factors, however, can also be a sign of low levels of folate in the body.
Folate is common to many wonderful and readily accessible foods, including:
- Leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, romaine lettuce and turnip greens.
- Vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, avocado, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, beets, corn, celery, carrots, and squash.
- Citrus fruits including papaya, oranges, grapefruits, kiwi, strawberries, and raspberries.
- Beans, lentils and some peas
- Nuts and seeds, specifically sunflower seeds, peanut, flaxseed, and almonds.
Clearly, there are enough foods rich in folate to suit any palate. Maintaining sufficient levels of the B vitamin in the body helps allow its critical systems to stand strong.