Folate, folic acid, or vitamin B9 is one of the most essential nutrients in our body. It ensures proper maintenance and functioning of our cells. Many illnesses such as fatigue, palpitations, headaches, and diarrhea may be caused by folate deficiency.
Food sources of folate include legumes, green vegetables, and enriched grains. Folate helps to prevent a number of problems such as cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, and strokes.
Folate deficiency can cause coronary heart disease which occurs due to blockage or clogging of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. In other words, the high intake of folate helps prevent heart attacks or strokes.
A new study by the American Medical Association also indicates that high folate food intake along with methionine and vitamin B6 reduces the chance of lung cancer. The results of the test revealed that participants with a high level of folate, methionine, and vitamin B6 are at a significantly lower risk of suffering from lung cancer.
Yet another study proves that folate helps reduce the risk of alcohol and breast cancer. In the U.S. alone, a large percentage of women suffer from breast cancer and increase in folate intake could help prevent such a chronic disease.
It is also believed that folate or vitamin B9 is known to have reduced the risk of spinal birth defects that result in lifelong disability. In addition, folate helps in the normal functioning of red blood cells. In other words, it negates the possibility of disease due to abnormal red blood cells.
Additionally, folate helps reduce the risk of asthma and cure other allergies. Studies have also proven that those with low folate levels are at 41% more risk of wheezing than people with normal rates of this nutrient.
Certain medical conditions such as liver disease, kidney failure, pregnancy, lactation, alcohol abuse, and certain anemias may result in an increase in the loss of folate or an increase in the need for folic acid. For pregnant women in particular, folate helps and is essential in the prevention of neural tube defects in the fetus.
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