Benefits of Folate

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

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

The Recommended Dietary Allowance is 400 mcg.

Broccoli soup is loaded with the benefits of folate.

This page was updated on 7th June, 2023.

Their conclusion was that the amount of 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.

Folate 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 mandatory in all school-meal programmes.

If you are regularly having food like this homemade broccoli soup then you can enjoy real butter on your bread without guilt; or a dollop of cream. The added fat increases the absorption of folate in the gut.

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; you can and should consume some of them on a daily basis.

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

Organic green-foods are 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 phytonutrients also; all proven to protect us against neoplasms and many diseases.

If a life without medication[5] is your heart's desire, think greens.

Benefits of Folate

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

Broccoli osteoarthritis

Broccoli osteoarthritis brings us back to the fact that many of our wellness issues really are based on what we eat; and whether we exercise or not. The benefits of folate are 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 great-grandmother would not recognise it as food." Just walk around the supermarket, asking would your forebears identify items on the shelves as something they should be preparing for a meal today? Would they know it at all?

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

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 important 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 CVD, and all-cause mortality, showed no benefit; with one notable exception. Folic acid in seven of the projects clearly revealed 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 makes 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  B12 and choline, along with high folate levels are essential. These three vitamins work hand in glove; deficiencies causes many similar problems. However, they are found in very different food sources.

Vegan weight loss[4] in particular is a problem for B12, but mackerel recipes and free range 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 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 let them go out to find menial work, because that is all they are ever going 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 ultra 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 and some protein. We might just as well feed them cake for breakfast.

Yellow corn meal with natural honey, butter and milk.Stone-milled corn is rich in folate

Freshly-ground cornmeal like this is a good source of folate too. It's almost impossible to buy. Is investing in a milling machine an absurd idea so that your family can enjoy true whole grains daily?

Research shows that enjoying a true whole grain daily halves the prevalence of malignant breast tumours; that's massive.

Neural-tube defects

The spinal cord and brain are formed surprisingly early in the developing foetus. In the first weeks, when the expectant mother does not even yet 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 folate consumption from our food very early in the pregnancy is strongly associated with very serious defects such as spina bifida vera.

Read more about this horrific, not uncommon yet 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 another amino acid.

It's called methionine.

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

These are just some 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; and those from Mars too.

If you are seriously interested in the foods that keep you strong and vital 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 conditions such as frailty syndrome[1]. And, they are also found in foods high in folate; like broccoli, for example.


Homocysteine is a toxic breakdown product of protein metabolism. In the presence of the vitamins folate, choline and B12 it is immediately converted to another substance that is beneficial to the body. The minerals zinc and magnesium are required too.

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

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

  • What are phytosterols?[2]

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 the former for example would contribute about 4 percent of your daily needs.

And simultaneously you would be getting the anti-inflammatory effect of eugenol, of importance to every person; proven protection against a host of infectious bacteria. What's more it provides healing of capillaries damaged by viruses, cholesterol and cigarette smoke.

What is basil anyway, you may be asking? It is my favourite herb in our garden.

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

Parsley pesto is just as good.

See more at our best medicinal herbs page.

Lima beans too are a great source of folate; 44 mcg per cup. That's more than a tenth of the RDA.

Feel good?

Do you feel good? A survey of 2,000 adults in the UK found that 61% have simply accepted that "aches and pains are a part of their daily lives." They blamed not enough exercise and a poor diet for their woes[3]. They felt really good less than half the time; but were unwilling to change their lifestyles.

Is it time to focus on the benefits of folate and all the other phytonutrients found in  whole foods?


An important study published in the journal "Psychiatrist" found that patients suffering from a Major Depressive Disorder responded much better to medication if they also had high folate levels. This was especially true if they were obese or had raised inflammatory markers.

They found that pro-inflammatory cytokines interfered with the synthesis of certain neurotransmitters contributing to depression[6].

  1. Folate and frailty syndrome
  2. What are phytosterols? Web:
  3. Adults feel good just 47% of the time
  4. Vegan weight loss. Web:
  5. Life without medication. Web:
  6. A Review of folate as Adjunctive Therapy in the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder

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  • Investing in long-term health
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  • There's a hole in the bucket
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  • Blue zone folk are religious
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