Folate is well known for its role in childbearing. When a pregnant woman walks into my office, one of the first things I want to assess is her folate intake. It’s an extremely important B vitamin, essential for fetal development, most notably the production of the spinal cord and brain. But did you know that even if you’re not pregnant, folate is extremely important for you?
Benefits of folate
Take a gander at these less talked about benefits below. If these don’t get you jazzed on folate, I don’t know what will!
- Production of red blood cells
- Cell repair and maintenance
- DNA Synthesis
- Heart health
- Mental function
How much folate do you need?
The recommended daily intake (RDI) for folate is 300 micrograms to 400 micrograms a day depending on age, and 600 micrograms a day for pregnant women.
Good sources of folate
Folate is found in a variety of foods so luckily we do not have to look far to get our folate fix. In the bean department, pinto beans, garbanzo beans and lentils are wonderful sources of folate. Green veggies like mustard greens, collard greens, broccoli, spinach, asparagus and avocado are also powerhouse folate foods.
How to prepare folate
Similar to any other water-soluble B vitamins, cooking foods containing folate in water will result in a loss of nutrient content. Processing of any kind will lead to a potential loss of folate in foods, so the less processed the better. In fact there is really nothing I can think of that would better fit our folate needs then a fresh green salad. Think fresh kale salad with pinto beans and avocado!
Some days are just not salad days, but that doesn’t mean they can be folate days! Another great way to incorporate folate-rich foods in the diet is stir-frying green veggies or making a yummy lentil stew. Folate is found in a variety of easy-to-get foods, you just need to be intentional about your intake.