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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Folate: Know why it is one of the ‘most important nutrients’

"It is primarily found in dark leafy greens such as kale, Swiss chard, and spinach, but you can also find it in foods like asparagus, beans, beets, and whole grains., said Dr Uma Naidoo

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
November 15, 2021 10:00:43 am
Eat your greens! (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Green, leafy vegetables usually don’t feature on people’s list of favourites. As such, while some enjoy how they taste, others can’t stand the sight of them. While people’s palates will always differ, it cannot be denied that green and leafy vegetables are an excellent source of folate, “which helps to make neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine, which stabilise and increase your mood”, says Dr Uma Naidoo in an Instagram post.

To put it simply, the more regularly you consume fresh, leafy greens, the more likely you are to be happier and in a better mood.

“One of the most important nutrients you don’t hear enough about is Folate (vitamin B9). Folate is an essential nutrient (meaning it can only be received from food) and folate deficiency is linked to depression, memory, chronic fatigue, bipolar, schizophrenia, and more,” the expert added.


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A post shared by Uma Naidoo, MD (@drumanaidoo)

Folate deficiency might also contribute to a loss of brain cells, primarily those in the hippocampus. “The hippocampus is a critical brain structure involved in learning and memory, so its atrophy plays a large role in mental health”, she said.

Dr Naidoo further highlighted how depression is the most common symptom in patients with folate deficiency and the “higher one’s folate level, the lower one’s level of depression”.

The expert also listed a few good sources of green leafy vegetables that contain an ample amount of folate or Vitamin B9:

*Spinach — A commonly found leafy green, especially with the onset of winter, you can include it in your diet in salads, stir fries, saag etc.

*Beans — Rich in folate, beans also contain fibre and other nutrients.

*Green peas — Another winter favourite vegetable, a version of aloo matar is distinct to most households in the country. The vegetable itself is versatile and can be used in a variety of ways.

“It is primarily found in dark leafy greens such as kale, Swiss chard, and spinach, but you can also find it in foods like asparagus, beans, beets, and whole grains,” she said, adding “aim for 4-6 cups of greens per day to get your daily folate”.

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📣 The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

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