What Is Folic Acid:
Folic acid, also known as Vitamin B9 or Folacin, is the synthetic form of the B vitamin folate. It is water-soluble and essential to many bodily functions such as producing healthy red blood cells and preventing anaemia. Folic acid is essential for creating hemi, the iron containing substance in haemoglobin, crucial for oxygen transport. Lack of adequate folic acid in the body can lead to heart disease, birth defects (in the case of pregnant women), certain allergies, cancer, premature senility, acne and megaloblastic anaemia (rare disorder in which the body does not absorb enough vitamin B12 from the digestive tract, resulting in an inadequate amount of red blood cells produced).
Why Frolic Acid:
Let’s take a look folic acids help-
- Folate-rich foods or supplements lower your homocysteine (a type of amino acid), which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Folacin also plays a role in protein metabolism, cell growth and division.
- Folate is an absolute necessity for any women who is pregnant. A deficiency of folic acid in a mother-to-be can cause neural tube defects in the new-born such as spina bifida ( an incomplete closure of the spinal cord and spinal column), anencephaly (severe underdevelopment of the brain) etc.
- Folic acid provides nourishment to the brain and helps treat depression to some extent during ageing and hence seniors should take folate supplements.
- It cuts down on the adverse effects of nicotine on the lungs, and hence is a must for smokers.
Where Is It Found?
Here’s a list of a few good sources of folic acid-
- Dark green leafy vegetables like mint, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, peas, beets, green beans, root vegetables, asparagus, corn, Brussel sprouts, legumes, soybeans, cluster beans.
- Strawberries, oranges, other citrus fruits and citrus fruit juices, tomatoes, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, raspberries, avocados, bananas, watermelon.
- Dried beans and peas, nuts, seeds, Almonds, lentils.
- Liver and liver products.
- Low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese.
Include lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet. These high-fibre, low-fat foods are typically rich in folic acid and other B vitamins, which reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing arterial blood clots.