Getting The Folate We Need

We have all heard that we need to eat healthy, especially consuming 5 - 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily in order to maintain optimum health.  We also especially need leafy greens like kale, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, legumes, sunflower seeds, oranges, melons, beets, and fortified whole grains.

Why this particular group?  Because they all contain Folate.  Folate, also known as folic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for cell division, DNA synthesis, and healthy blood cell production. Research at the University of York and Hull York Medical School has found a link between depression and low levels of folate.

Folate and folic acid derive their names from the Latin word folium (which means "leaf"). Leafy vegetables are a principal source, although, in Western diets, fortified cereals and bread may be a larger dietary source.

Vitamin B9 (folic acid and folate inclusive) is essential to numerous bodily functions ranging from biosynthesis to DNA repair. It is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth. Children and adults both require folic acid to produce healthy red blood cells and prevent anemia. 

 A lack of dietary folic acid leads to folate deficiency (FD). This can result in many health problems, the most notable one being neural tube defects in developing embryos. DNA synthesis and repair are impaired and this could lead to cancer development.  

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for men and women is 400 micrograms and 600 micrograms for pregnant women. To keep you smiling, increase your intake of folate-rich foods. A cup of cooked lentils provides 90% of the RDA of folic acid. Plus, the fiber and protein will satisfy you longer, stabilize blood sugar, and also promote a better mood. Additional bonuses: Folate can also decrease homocysteine, an amino acid that is linked to heart disease. Low levels of folate can cause anemia, while pregnant women must increase their folate levels to prevent fetal neural tube deficiencies. 

Certain foods are very high in folate:

  1. Leafy vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, turnip greens
  2. Legumes such as dried or fresh beans, peas and lentils
  3. Egg yolks
  4. Baker's yeast
  5. Fortified grain products (pasta, cereal, bread); some breakfast cereals (ready-to-eat and others) are fortified with 25% to 100% of the recommended dietary allowance(RDA) for folic acid
  6. Sunflower seeds
  7. Liver and liver products also contain high amounts of folate
  8. Kidney

Moderate amounts:

  1. canned pineapple juice, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, grapefruit juice, banana, raspberry,
    grapefruit, orange juice and strawberry
  2. beets, corn, tomato juice, vegetable juice, broccoli, brussels sprouts, romaine lettuce and
    bok choy.

A table of selected food sources of folate and folic acid can be found at the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Folic acid is added to grain products in many countries, and, in these countries, fortified products make up a significant source of the population's folic acid intake. 
Folic acid naturally found in food is susceptible to high heat and ultraviolet light, and is soluble in water. It is heat-labile in acidic environments and may also be subject to oxidation.

Living Feast (see source supply: is a wonderful live whole food, nutrient rich product which contains all the natural folic acid needed to fulfill your body’s daily needs.

Researched by Linda Lawrence-Winters

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