Folate is commonly called vitamin B12 or vitamin B9. Folate deficiency or anemia primarily occurs when the lack of vitamin B12 or folate in the body produce abnormally large red blood cells that cannot function properly. Red blood cells carry oxygen around the body using a substance called hemoglobin. If you do not have enough folate in your diet, you might end up with folate deficiency in just a few weeks. Folate deficiency can also lead to anemia. Anemia is a condition where you have too few red blood cells. Folate is extremely important for women during pregnancy. A folate deficiency in expecting mothers can lead to birth defects.
Symptoms of folate deficiency:
Tiredness or fatigue Stomach problems Weight loss Headaches Red, smooth and painful tongue Lack of energy
Causes of folate deficiency:
Most people suffer from folate deficiency because they do not eat foods that contain folate acid. You should include foods like dark leafy green vegetables, whole grains, yeast, citrus fruits and beans Excessive consumption of alcohol can also be harmful as it makes difficult for your intestines to absorb folate Pregnant women need more folate as a growing baby absorbs lots of folic acid from his/her mother
Here are some foods that are rich in vitamin B9(Folate):
1. Green vegetables: Dark, green, leafy vegetables such as asparagus, spinach and kale are low in calories but have a wealth of nutrients like vitamins and minerals, including folate. Fresh green vegetables are high in fiber and vitamins A and K and have been associated with a lot of health benefits. Including these vegetables in your diet may be associated with reduced inflammation, a lower risk of cancer and weight management.
2. Nuts: One cup of sunflower or flax seeds is high in folate as it offers around 300mcg. You can add flax, chia, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds either raw, sprouted, or even sprinkle onto your salads and dishes. Nuts have high amounts of folic acid, especially peanuts and almonds.
3. Eggs: Nutrient-dense with a relatively small calorie count eggs does wonders when included in your diet. They are rich in proteins and contain almost every vital vitamin, including 24 mcg of folate in each egg. You can keep some hard-boiled eggs in the fridge for an evening snack, or add a poached egg in your morning breakfast along with an avocado toast for a double-dose of folate.
4. Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits rank the highest in folic acid. Oranges, grapes, papaya, grapefruit, banana and strawberries are rich in folic acid. One orange holds about 50 mcg. A large glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice may contain even more and can be consumed during breakfast.