Folate – or vitamin B9 is a water soluble B vitamin that is NOT stored in our bodies. Therefore we must eat folate rich foods every day!
Folate has three primary roles in our body:
To help prevent anemia: without appropriate levels of folate you may not be able to produce enough red blood cells. This may make you feel weak, or tired
For a healthy heart: proper levels of folate help maintain our body’s level of homocysteine (an amino acid in our blood). High levels of homocysteine have been linked to heart disease. Increasing your folate levels can decrease your homocysteine and therefore your heart disease risk!
To reduce the risk of some birth defects: Women of childbearing age are often encouraged to take a folic acid supplement. Low levels of folate have been linked to increased risks of birth defects in infants (most notably neural tube defects eg. spina bifida)
Many foods are rich in folate – these include dark leafy greens, cooked dried beans, lentils, peas, asparagus, enriched grain products and many more!
So make your loved one a heart healthy Valentine’s Day meal full of heart friendly Folate!