What are the health benefits of folate?

Dr. Doris Day, MD
Folate is very important for rapidly dividing cells, especially skin cells. Vegetables, such as green leafy vegetables and beans are the best sources of folate. The only animal source that is particularly rich in folate is liver. However, folate can be destroyed during cooking, so be sure to eat at least some of your vegetables fresh or only lightly cooked to preserve this important nutrient.
Maoshing Ni, PhD, LAc
Geriatric Medicine
Folate, also know as folic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for cell division, deoxyribonucleic acid (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. To keep you and your heart smiling, try a cup of cooked lentils, which provides 90% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of folic acid. Plus, the fiber and protein will satisfy you longer, stabilize blood sugar, and also promote a better mood. Find folate in kale, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, bok choy, legumes, sunflower seeds, oranges, melons, beets, and fortified whole grains.
Folate is vital to making the DNA in your cells. If the synthesis of DNA is disrupted, your body’s ability to create and maintain new cells is impaired. For this reason, folate plays many important roles, from maintaining healthy blood cells and preventing birth defects to possibly fighting cancer and heart disease.

Folate also helps your body use amino acids and is needed to help red blood cells divide and increase in adequate numbers.

Enriched pasta, rice, breads and cereals, legumes (dried peas and beans), leafy green vegetables (spinach, lettuce, collards), broccoli, asparagus, and orange juice are all good sources of this vitamin.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.