B9, Folate: What You Need to Know
Vitamin B9, more commonly known as folate or folic acid is absolutely essential for good health. Find out what foods contain folate here.
Folate is also essential for normal nerve and brain functioning, and may help reduce blood-levels of homocysteine (elevated levels increase one’s risk of cardiovascular disease). Cells with a quick turnover, i.e. skin cells, gastrointestinal cells, and more, are dependent on folic acid for their formation. For this reason, deficiency has been linked to issues with these tissues including: dermatitis, vitiligo (loss of skin pigment), cancers of the esophagus and lung, uterus and cervix, and intestine (colon).
More on homocysteine. Researchers from the Netherlands and the US have confirmed that low levels of dietary folic acid significantly increases risk of osteporosis-related fractures due to the increase in homocysteine. Homocysteine has already been linked to damage to the arteries and atherosclerosis, plus increased risk of dementia in the elderly. Increased intake of folic acid, particularly by men, has been suggested as a simply way to lower risk of cardiovascular disease, by preventing build-up of homocysteine.
Shopping for folate rich foods?
Some great foods for folate include, lentils, romaine lettuce, spinach, turnip greens, beets, pinto beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, avocado, sunflower seeds, mustard greens, and kale. Think foliage when you think of folate as well as beans and legumes. Having a varied and balanced diet with a focus on fresh produce will steer you in the right direction towards optimal vitamin, minerals and of course folate.