Everything You Need To Know About Folate
The most important aspect of our life is our health. Thus being healthy should naturally be a part of our overall lifestyle. And today we would tell you about ‘The health benefits of Folate’ and what would happen if your body was lacking it.
What Is Folate?
The naturally occurring form of Vitamin B12 is Folate. The origin of the word is Latin, as the name folate is taken from the Latin word ‘Folium’ meaning leaf. The interesting fact here is that leafy vegetables are considered among its best sources. Before it enters your bloodstream, it is converted by your digestive system into the biologically active form of vitamin B9-5MTHF.
Why Is It Needed?
Folate is important for several functions in the body. It is required by your body to make DNA as well as other genetic material. It is also needed for your cells to divide, grow, and regroup. It is especially important during pregnancy to prevent any birth defects or child health abnormalities.
The importance of folate is such that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made it a requirement for manufacturers to add Folic Acid to bread, pasta, cereals, and other grains in the USA.
What Would Happen If You Have A Folate Deficiency?
If you don’t eat enough fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, or fortified cereals, then the folate level in your body will drop in just a few weeks. Deficiency can lead to several health irregularities. Let’s take a look at what would happen if you don’t get enough of it in your diet:
- Lack of folate can cause severe damage to the physical and mental health baby if you are pregnant. This is because this vitamin is known to be important for the growth of the fetus’s brain and spinal cord.
- It causes some red blood cells to be larger than what is normal and results in larger immature red blood cells and lesser mature red blood cells. This leads to a reduced pace of bodily healing.
- Leads to a low level of white blood cells and platelets.
How Would You Know Your Body Is Not Getting Sufficient Folate?
Generally, people get enough folate from their food, but sometimes people may suffer from a deficiency. In this case, how would you know that you have low levels? Well, the simple answer is by going to a doctor and getting a blood test done.
But even to go to a doctor you first need to realize that there is something wrong. Here are some symptoms that will indicate to you that your body is deficient in it:
- Growth problems
- Tongue swelling
- Mouth sores
Benefits Of Folate-rich Diet
Folate is an essential nutrient that is significant for DNA replication. But this is not the only good thing about it. You need to know how it would be beneficial for you.
- It is extremely beneficial during pregnancy as it prevents birth defects and pregnancy complications- especially neural tube defects like Spina Bifida. It is also essential to keep a track of bodily folate levels during pregnancy as it helps the fetus to develop the baby’s spinal cord and healthy growth of the brain. It would also help prevent complications like preeclampsia.
- Quicker growth of the brain and a greater number of neural connections are assured. Research has associated it with the health of your brain. An appropriate level of folate helps in better functioning of the brain and lowers the risk of developing a mental illness like dementia. It also shows promising results in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
- Reduces depressive symptoms when used in combination with antidepressants. Compared to using anti-depressants alone, treatments that include it based supplements show reduced negative symptoms in people having schizophrenia.
- It helps to keep your heart healthy. High blood pressure which is known as a factor for heart diseases is reduced by its healthy levels in your blood. Additionally, it regulates the amount of amino acid homocysteine which increases the risks of heart diseases.
- It also improves blood sugar control in the arteries. It reduces insulin resistance and diabetic complications like neuropathy.
- This vitamin is known to boost fertility in females. Women going for clinical help for the process of reproduction should maintain a high level of folate as it is associated with a higher rate of live and healthy births.
- It also functions by warding off the side effects of some medicines. It helps in reducing the side effects of certain medicines like methotrexate and immunosuppressant, while also preventing possible drug interactions within your medicinal palette.
- It reduces internal inflammation. Folate is known to reduce C-reactive protein which is an inflammatory marker.
- It also has protective effects against cancer. Some studies suggest that an adequate level of folate lowers the risk of esophageal and breast cancer. Researchers have found out over time that people taking folate supplements are at a lower risk of suffering from cancer.
What Can You Do To Maintain The Required Levels?
Now that we have got to know the significance of folate and all that it has to offer for our health, the question is:
How do I consume sufficient folate?
Honestly, it is quite simple. All you have to do is include these folate-rich foods to your diet and the good thing is they are the ordinary everyday foods that everyone knows about. Nothing too fancy or extravagant.
- Boiled spinach
- Fresh oranges
- Dry roasted peanuts
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Green peas
- Kidney Beans
- Tomato Juice
We do know that it reduces the risk of heart disease and is also good for our mental health. And we also know the risks of folate deficiency especially for pregnant women, i.e.: folate is essential for the growth of your baby’s brain and spinal cord.
Well, the good news is we have a sufficient number of natural sources of folate, which are easily available and also extremely affordable. Thus stay healthy and remember to eat lots of leafy vegetables and fresh fruits.
In case you don’t have to time to pinpoint the elements of your diet, simply look for folate supplements that are designed to ensure your body always receives the suggested levels of folate. Several supplements are fuelled with additional ingredients that act efficiently and multiple the benefits when administered the folate.
Ideally, compare the nutrients imparted from your current diet and analyze what your body may need in greater amounts.
August 15, 2020 Sam Bell