Benefits of Folate

Broccoli soup is loaded with the benefits of folate.

Benefits of folate, also known as vitamin B9, in teenagers include a strong correlation with higher academic achievement in school; just as important a deficiency is a major cause of spina bifida.

This page was updated on 15th November, 2020.

In a fascinating research project published in a prominent pediatrics journal, researchers sought to find if there was a correlation between school progress and B9 intake in nearly four hundred teenagers.

Their conclusion was that vitamin B9 ingested by teenagers is directly related to achievement in school.

They first excluded other factors known to affect academic results such as smoking, and the parents' financial status and education.

It is found primarily in dark-green leafy vegetables.

The researchers recommended that caregivers should be told which foods are high in folate, and that these should be included in all school meal programmes.

If you are regularly having foods like this homemade broccoli soup you can enjoy real butter on your bread; or a dollop of cream on your broth.

Along with the folate you can enjoy the protection given to your arteries by the brassica family; there are many foods that lower blood cholesterol naturally that you can and should consume on a daily basis.

Vitamin B9 is the commonly known name; creating a divine green salad is one way to ensure you are getting the full benefits of folate.

Organic green food is very high on my list of priorities; they are the source of not only the benefits of folate but a host of other vitamins and phytochemicals that protect us against neoplasms and many other diseases.

If a life without medication is your heart's desire, think greens; type it here. 

Benefits of Folate

There is a pandemic of arthritis and cholesterol related diseases in today's society; the benefits of folate are only a part of the solution.

Broccoli osteoarthritis

Broccoli osteoarthritis brings us back to the fact that many of our health issues really are based in what we eat, and how we exercise. The benefits of folate is just one small part of the equation.

One of the new buzzwords, and I must say I go along with it, is do not eat it if your grandmother would not recognise it as food. Just walk around the supermarket, asking would your forebears identify this and that as something we should be feeding on? Would they know it at all?

Arthritis in joints certainly predates the junk food revolution, but it was not so disabling and painful and across the board. It is also very much related to trauma.

What is Folate?

Vitamin B9 or folate is a vitamin found primarily in green leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach and lettuce.

The name folate comes from the Latin word meaning leaf.

The synthetic form is folic acid.

The vitamin is vital in the formation of DNA and the developing spinal cord; pregnant mothers who do not eat foods high in folate are at risk of producing children with birth defects.

Other benefits of folate include the formation of normal red blood cells, along with vitamin B12 and iron. A deficiency causes one kind of anemia.

A folate deficiency is also implicated in stroke, heart disease and premature senility because of its inverse correlation with toxic homocysteine; that is a breakdown product of protein metabolism that the body seeks to neutralise immediately but the process is entirely dependent on certain minerals and vitamins.

A disturbing very large meta-analysis of 170 individual studies of supplemental vitamins and minerals for prevention and treatment of cardio-vascular disease and all-cause mortality showed no benefit, with one notable exception; folic acid in 7 studies showed a clear benefit of reduced stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Broccoli reigns supreme as the queen of those foods that help prevent malignant disease; it is rich in folate and easy to grow in the home garden. For the DC it is its proven prevention of arthritis properties that make it attractive; plant it in your patch if you have the space.

One branching variety continues to send out florets long after the main head has been picked. It is perfect for use in a simple, very easy to make, delicious broth. Go to broccoli facts and scroll down to the soup.

The small head produced by branching broccoli.

Vitamin B12

Large amounts of vitamin B12, and choline, along with high folate levels are vital. These three vitamins work hand in hand and deficiencies causes many similar problems. However, they are found in very different food sources.

Vegan weight loss in particular is a problem for B12, but mackerel recipes and free range cage free eggs are particularly rich in this vitamin and choline, and other essential substances such as omega-3.

Can you spot the free range egg? B12 and choline are needed along with folate.

Can you tell which of these eggs is free range?

Water soluble vitamins

Both vitamins folate and B12 are water-soluble vitamins meaning that they are poorly stored in the body and need to be consumed daily.


What is the moral of the story? If your kids are not eating foods high in folate on a daily basis there is probably no point in sending them to school. They simply will not take much in; you might as well send them out to find menial work, because that is all they are going ever to achieve. Is that a sick joke?

Perhaps it is, but are you sure? Research shows that 27 percent of South African children are permanently stunted; a deficiency of folate is part of the problem. It is a complex subject; in my opinion the refining of corn, a staple in our food, is another major factor. After the removal of the vitamins, phytochemicals and essential fatty acids all that is left is nutritionless starch. We might just as well feed them on cake flour for breakfast.

Neural tube defects

The spinal cord and brain are formed surprisingly early in the developing foetus. In the first weeks, when the mother to be does not even know she is pregnant; that is when there is serious danger of neural tube defects. One of the benefits of folate is to greatly reduce them. 

There are many studies confirming that low dietary folate consumption very early in the pregnancy is strongly associated with very serious neutral tube defects such as spinal bifida vera.

Read more about this horrific and not uncommon, entirely preventable condition at spina bifida and orange juice.

Another danger area for young women is a deficiency of a different B vitamin called choline; it is also part of the cycle whereby toxic homocysteine is methylated to an amino acid called methionine.

Choline food sources, along with folate, is an important subject for any woman who could become unexpectedly pregnant. The average Western diet has only 50 percent of the recommended daily amount.

These are just another of the many benefits of folate and choline. All women, whether planning a pregnancy or not, should daily be consuming foods high in B vitamins; men too.


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself, your family and friends, and Mother Earth for future generations. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books!

Here are the back issues.

  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

If you are seriously interested in the foods that keep you healthy then you want to know about phytosterols.

They are vital nutrients found in large quantities in vegetables and fruits. They are strongly associated with lower cholesterol, less nasty tumours and prostate problems; even varicose ulcers and a host of other problems such as frailty syndrome. And, they are also found in foods high in folate; foods like broccoli.


Homocysteine is a toxic breakdown product of protein metabolism; in the presence of folate, choline, B12, zinc and magnesium, it is immediately converted to another substance that is not harmful in the body.

That is just another of the many benefits of both folate and choline.

Read more about this process and its importance in many serious disease at our homocysteine cardiovascular page.

  • What are phytosterols? Use our site search function.

Green leafy herbs

Whilst you would have to consume an awful lot of sweet basil or cilantro, for example, to get a significant amount of folate, it all adds up and contributes. Half a cup of basil for example would contribute about 4 percent of your daily needs. But simultaneously you would be getting the anti-inflammatory effect of eugenol, of importance to every patient, proven protection against a host of infectious bacteria and healing of blood vessels damaged by viruses, cholesterol and cigarette smoke.

What is basil, anyway, you may be asking; my favourite easy to grow herb in the garden.

Okay, I do have several favourites. But your own homemade pesto is divine and you can rustle it up five minutes.

Parsley pesto is just as good. See more at our best medicinal herbs page.

  1. Bernard Preston
  2. Organic Food Green
  3. Benefits of Folate

Did you find this page interesting? How about forwarding it to a friend, or book and food junkie; or, better still, a Facebook or Twitter tick would help.


56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa