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Folate: Why Are We Surprised by Disruptions?

Many people are deficient in this important nutrient, which is essential for performing DNA synthesis, and thus important for reproductive health.

The following blog post will explore what folate is and why it's important in the diet. We'll also be discussing healthy foods rich in folate that you can incorporate into your diet. Read on to get started!

What folate is and why it's so important within the human body?

In order to understand how this mineral performs its functions, you first have to know a little about DNA synthesis-the process of turning genetic information into proteins that make up all cells-within cells called mitochondria.

DNA synthesis: This is the process by which genetic information is converted into functional proteins. The DNA sequence, along with transcription factors, first transcribes the gene into messenger RNA (mRNA). The mRNA then makes its way to the ribosome in order to create proteins from amino acids.

Folate is essential for DNA synthesis because it's necessary for creating purine and pyrimidine bases-nucleotides that are used to synthesize many things within the body including DNA strands. Folate can be found in foods such as lemons, oranges, grape juice, potatoes, beans and lentils.

Why is folate so important in the diet?

Folate is a B-vitamin as well as a water-soluble nutrient that's involved in the metabolism of every cell in the body. Folate has been found to promote fetal health, maintain healthy pregnancies and promote the recovery of nerve function after injuries. Considering all of these things, it's safe to say that folate plays an important role within the body.

Foods rich in folate that you can incorporate into your diet

These foods were chosen because they're among the most nutrient dense foods available and are excellent for promoting your overall health.

Leafy Greens: These foods are packed with folate, vitamins A and E, and calcium. Some of the best leafy greens that are high in folate include spinach, turnip greens, chard, Swiss chard and beet greens.

What's really interesting about spinach is that it's considered one of the richest plant sources for vitamin K. In fact, one cup of cooked spinach contains more than 460% of the daily recommended intake for vitamin K! This antioxidant has been found to help promote bone health as well as lower your risk of heart disease. Be sure to incorporate leafy greens like these into your diet regularly 

Avocados: Avocados are packed with folate and other B vitamins — the more ripe the avocado is, the more folate it has. A medium-sized avocado contains about 80% of the recommended daily value for folate or 322 mcg Folate. How much folate you need depends on your age, race and what you want to achieve with your diet. However, a good food source of folate starts with eating a varied diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Okra: Okra is a plant in the Chenopodiaceae family. It has long green pods, which look like little sheaves of wheat. Okra grows wild in tropical regions and is fairly easy to grow at home. Because this vegetable is a source of folate, you should ensure that you include it in your diet from time to time.

Pinto Beans Recipe: An excellent low-cost source of folate, pinto beans contain 300 mcg per cup cooked. These tasty legumes are also high in protein and fiber; they are perfect for making hearty soups, stews and tacos.

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