Folic acid, also popularly known as folate, is an essential vitamin (vitamin B9) that our body needs to carry out several internal and external functions. According to researchers, it plays a vital role in cell division, thereby assisting in the production of our genetic material, i.e., DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid). It also actively takes part in the growth of cells and tissues. Developing a healthy brain is impossible without sufficient folic acid in the diet. Besides, nutrients are essential for properly maintaining our skin and hair. Folic acid is an indispensable part of our diet, and we should consume it in adequate amounts. (1)(2)
Dietary Sources Of Folic Acid
The best thing about folic acid is that it is found abundantly in most common food items in our daily diet. Some of the best natural resources of folic acid are green leafy veggies (spinach, broccoli, etc.), cauliflower, carrots, root vegetables, lentils (legumes, beans, peas, etc.), nuts, Brussels sprouts, corn, red bell peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, artichokes, edible mushrooms, bananas, papayas, avocados, berries (strawberries, raspberries, etc.), citrus fruits (oranges, melons, etc.), fortified cereals, meat (poultry, pork, kidney and liver meat), shellfish, eggs, dairy products, wheat bran, whole grains, and so on.
Benefits Of Folic Acid For Health
Folic acid offers a wide range of health benefits, and here is a list of the same:
Folic acid’s most important health benefit is its capacity to make pregnancy smooth and effortless. A woman must consume lots of folate during her preconception period as well as pregnancy, along with prescribed medications. From increasing the chances of conceiving to ensuring proper development of the fetus (growth of skin and hair cells), this nutrient can help us greatly while taken in adequate quantity. Folic acid can also prevent miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, neural tube congenital disabilities, and the risk of cleft lip and palate.
When it comes to preventing and treating type-2 diabetes, the need to include enough folic acid in our diet can’t be ignored. It can decrease the fat content in our bloodstream, efficiently managing obesity. This eventually helps in preventing the occurrence of type-2 diabetes.
Takes Care Of Heart
The recommended intake of folic acid can help us maintain good cardiovascular health. Its well-balanced sodium and potassium ratio regulates and keeps our blood pressure stable. It is capable of preventing the absorption of cholesterol so that the flow of blood remains smooth all through our body. Being high in magnesium, it can also unwind the cardiac muscles easily. All these are necessary to keep cardiovascular diseases like blood clotting, hypertension, heart attack, etc., at bay.
Stops Cancerous Growth
Folic acid has a fantastic power of inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells. Regular intake of folic acid in adequate quantity can help us fight against certain types of cancers (breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, etc.) by preventing the tumor cells from multiplying.
Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease
Patients who are suffering from memory loss caused by aging and other related brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, can find the intake of folic acid extremely helpful. It improves our brain cells’ functions, thereby significantly strengthening our memory.
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Folate plays a crucial role in forming RBCs (Red Blood Corpuscles) in our blood, which benefits anemic people. As it ensures proper growth and count of RBCs, enough blood is pumped throughout our body, and we can steer clear of various symptoms of anemia.
Folic acid can reduce the exhaustion caused by heavy flows during the menstrual cycle. It provides enough RBCs to our bloodstream, which ensures good circulation throughout the body and improves the condition to a great extent.
Aid In Digestion
Folic acid and other nutrients like vitamins B and C can aid in digestion remarkably. It facilitates bowel movement, stops constipation, cures stomach illness, and digests and utilizes proteins in our food tract. All these eventually enhance the entire process of digestion.
Folic acid can enhance our mood by regulating the GABA neuron chemical levels in our brain. As a result, our brain functions normally, and we can avoid stress, tension, and depression.
Benefits Of Folic Acid For Skin
We have also listed down various skin benefits of folic acid:
Fights Premature Aging
Regular consumption of enough folic acid will reduce the appearance of signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines, etc., and boost collagen production in your skin to give you firmer and toned skin.
Protects From Sun Damages
Too much sun exposure can damage the DNA in our skin cells, thereby making us vulnerable to skin cancer. Folic acid can reverse such sun damage by repairing the DNAs and developing healthy skin cells.
Adds Healthy Glow
Being a vitamin, folic acid can nourish our skin and add a natural, healthy glow while keeping it moisturized and supple. However, an overdose of folic acid might lead to several side effects, including rashes, fatigue, hypertension, and even seizures. Hence, consult your physician before starting a folic acid treatment for your health or skin.
Folic acid, a crucial vitamin (B9), plays a vital role in cell division, DNA production, and tissue growth. It is abundant in everyday foods, including green leafy veggies, lentils, nuts, and fruits, and offers various health benefits. Essential for a healthy pregnancy, it prevents diabetes, supports heart health, inhibits cancer cell growth, and aids Alzheimer’s prevention. Additionally, folic acid benefits the skin by controlling breakouts, fighting premature aging, protecting from sun damage, and adding a healthy glow. However, proper consultation with a physician is advised before starting a folic acid treatment.