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We all know how important vitamins are for our health. Each vitamin performs a specific function for us and a deficiency can lead to health complications. One such vitamin is folate or vitamin B9. It is a water-soluble vitamin that is needed by the body for maintaining cell health. Folate is particularly useful when it comes to maintaining healthy fetal growth.
No wonder then that it is important to ensure you’re consuming enough folate through food sources in order to stay healthy!
Folate is found naturally in a variety of foods that can be easily incorporated into your diet:
Spinach is a low calorie and high nutrition food source that improves overall health. One cup of raw spinach can provide up to 15 per cent of the required daily value of folic acid. There are a number of recipes that can be made with palak, be it chips, palak paneer or even pulao. This leafy green vegetable is also a rich source of iron, vitamin C, and antioxidants that boost immunity levels. Including spinach in your diet will ensure good health of your eyes, it will help manage blood pressure levels, and strengthen the bones.
Legumes such as kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas and soybeans are a rich source of folic acid. For example, one cup of cooked rajma/kidney beans can provide you with 33 per cent of the required daily value of folic acid, while one cup of cooked daal can fulfil about 90 per cent of the required folate intake requirement. Legumes are also a good source of magnesium, antioxidants and potassium, and can help reduce the risk of heart diseases and lower blood levels.
Beetroot is a wondrous vegetable, with a rich nutritional profile. This vegetable contains a wide range of essential vitamins, fibre, antioxidants and folic acid (37 per cent of daily value) and minerals. Consuming beetroot helps in boosting cell health, metabolism, bone growth and immunity system. The antioxidant found in beetroots lowers the risk of cancers in the colon and digestive tract and suppresses inflammation. Beets can be included in the diet as part of salads, hummus and savoury dishes.
This power food is a no brainer due to the wide array of benefits it provides. One cup of cooked broccoli provides about 21 per cent of the daily folate requirement. Iron and vitamin C helps build immunity levels. Broccoli is also rich in fibre, protein, calcium, selenium and magnesium, hence, it will help in building muscles, strengthening bones, and boost overall energy levels. There are many ways of including broccoli in your diet, be it as a roasted snack, classic savoury dish, or as soup.
5. Nuts and seeds
Nuts such as walnuts, almonds and cashews are a good source of folic acid (7 per cent of the daily requirement). What’s more, they also contain magnesium, iron and monounsaturated fats, which improve blood sugar levels and boost energy levels. Seeds such as flax, pumpkin and chia are a rich source of folic acid (6 per cent of daily requirement), iron and omega-3 fatty acids that can help reduce cholesterol levels and protect your cells from harmful free radicals produced during metabolic processes.