A new scientific study found that the B-vitamin folate is not only important during pregnancy, but may be a valuable nutrient in all phases of life. Researchers in China discovered that people with Alzheimer’s disease had lower levels of folate than in the healthy control group of study participants.
According to Well + Good, the study was published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience. Experts say that the finding is critical since Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of neurodegenerative disease that leads to dementia in the elderly. The researchers concluded that having enough DNA-building folate in the body can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
“I have been a long-time believer in a deficient diet being a risk factor for many medical diagnoses and Alzheimer’s is no exception,” said Amy Cameron O’Rourke, who holds a master’s degree in public health and is a leading advocate for seniors. “Folate aids in the growth of healthy cells, so it isn’t difficult to make the leap to see folate as a protective factor for Alzheimer’s.”
The daily recommended amount of folate, the natural form of vitamin B9, is 400 micrograms (mcg), which nutritionists say you should be able to derive from a well-balanced diet. Here are the foods that are the best sources of folate:
•Edamame. One-half cup of edamame beans has 241 mcg of folate, says Well +Good. Eat them as a snack, appetizer or toss the beans into a salad.
• Dark, leafy green vegetables. According to experts at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, turnip greens, spinach, romaine lettuce, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli are good sources of folate. One cup of raw spinach provides 58.2 mcg.
•Asparagus. A half-cup of cooked asparagus contains about 134 mcg of folate, says Healthline. Asparagus is also rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
•Beets. These ruby red vegetables are packed with folate and nitrates, which also have many health benefits. A single cup contains 148 mcg. of folate. Drinking beet juice may also help lower high blood pressure, says Healthline.
•Lentils. One-half cup of lentils has 178 mcg of folate, almost half the daily recommended requirement, says Well + Good. Lentils are also a great source of fiber to improve gut health and protein to fill you up.
•Black beans. These beans are great in tacos, salads, and soups. One-half cup serving contains 128 mcg of folate and you’ll also get a hefty dose of fiber, antioxidants, and protein.
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