High folate levels

High folate levels are vital for women of child-bearing age as a deficiency causes birth defects; it's also known as folic acid.

Are you still on black and white television, and mainly a meat and potatoes diet? You're at risk. It's time to rack up to colour.

By Bernard Preston

Benefits of folate

Also known as vitamin B9, it's vital for many functions in the body. In short,

  • in formation of a healthy spinal cord in the developing foetus,
  • producing normal red blood cells, the carrier of oxygen in the body,
  • in preventing the build up of toxic homocysteine one of the underlying causes of heart disease and Alzheimer's disease, and
  • is strongly correlated with high academic achievement in school
  • in all rapidly dividing cells such as DNA, sperm and ova formation, in growth of the growing foetus and child.

Benefits of folate ...

High folate levels

High folate levels are vital for children; it's strongly correlated with academic achievement.

Strawberry nutrition facts will tell all about the amazing properties of this wonderful fruit; it's even allowed on the Banting diet.

Another good source is from our citrus fruit list; folate is a subject for all women of child-bearing age to take seriously; spina bifida and orange juice is another good solution.

I know it's boringly repetitive but those eating foods from a wide range of colours need have no fears of these strange diseases caused by a deficiency of vitamins and important phytochemicals.

Aim for at least 8-10 coloured foods per day; even a snippet of parsley in your salad counts for one. Try to avoid being overly anxious, counting and weighing your food; just enjoy it. To the best of your ability follow the basics; you can not do better than returning to the meals that your grandmother once put on the table.

What is folate?

Folate, also another form Folic acid, is one of the B complex vitamins, so vital for many functions in the body, and especially a healthy nervous system, hence the particular fascination for chiropractors. First look to green leafy vegetables for foods high in folate.

B9 is one of the water soluble vitamins, thus not stored for long periods in the body; foods high in folate should be consumed on a daily basis by everyone, but especially pregnant women, those breast feeding, children and adolescents. In short, where cells are rapidly proliferating. A deficiency is one of the causes of infertility. 

However, because folate is one of the vitamins, along with B6 and B12, that the body requires to minimise the levels of toxic homocysteine in the body. Large amounts of blood homocysteine are associate with heart disease, stroke and premature senility and Alzheimers disease.

All ages thus should be consuming foods high in folate. What can be worse than losing your marbles?

A deficiency of folate is but one of the many causes of cancer.


DNA is where the body's genetic material is stored. It is rapidly being synthesised in the body, and this can only happen with high folate levels.

Men and women who are infertile should, amongst other things be examining the level of foods high in folate that they are consuming. Those on a meat and potatoes, read black and white, diet are at risk.

It's all about colour.

Causes of infertility

Clingwrap, plastics, chemicals, smoking, obesity and cosmetics, and an absence of high folate levels, a B9 deficiency, are known causes of infertility.

So too is a deficiency of choline in the diet; it's an essential part of methylating toxic homocysteine, a normal breakdown product of protein metabolism.

Peripheral neuropathy

A very trying condition at the Chiropractic Coalface is a peripheral neuropathy. It frequently affects the legs causing numbness and tingling in the feet. In part nerves are dependent on high folate levels and the other B vitamins.


A shortage of red blood cells (RBC) is not uncommon in women who are menstruating heavily, or folk who have developed a bleeding ulcer from taking anti inflammatory drugs.

Just as common, perhaps more common, are the anemias due to a deficiency of iron, or B9 or B12, mostly due to dietary deficiencies, but there are other causes, such as a deficiency of "intrinsic factor" in the stomach.

B9 and B12 deficiencies are "macrocyctic" whereas an iron deficiency is "microcytic". The folate level can be readily checked with a simple blood test.

A RBC folate condition is readily easily treated if the patient is prepared to change their diet to include green leaf vegetables, foods high in folate.

Mental decline

Low folate and folic acid are strongly correlated with premature forgetfulness, senility, Alzheimer's disease, and even personality change. High folate levels are important in young and old alike.


Homocysteine is the toxic breakdown product of protein metabolism. The body rapidly converts homocysteine to other substances, but this process requires the B12, Folate combination of vitamins. Without either, homocysteine levels rise causing severe health decline. Choline too is necessary.

Folic supplementation and dermatitis

There has been a suggestion that folate and B12 supplementation during pregnancy may be associated with an allergic dermititis and asthma in the young child.

Two research articles in The Journal of Nutrition and Pediatrics deny any suggestion of an association between supplementation and childhood wheezing and asthma. However, there is confirmation that severe contact dermatitis in young children is indeed associated with supplementation with Folate B12. Super high folate levels (supplementation) during pregnancy is not desirable. It's impossible to overdose by eating folate foods.

As always, get your essential nutrients from good eating habits, not out of a bottle. Use vitamins and mineral supplementation in moderation only.

Another example: Vitamin E is often thought to decrease the risk of prostate cancer. Indeed, one form of vitamine E (gamma tocopherol) does reduce the incidence of prostate cancer. But... the most common vitamin E supplement contains only alpha tocopherol, which competes with gamma tocopherol, reducing the latter's absorption. Alpha tocopherol supplementation actually INCREASES the risk of prostate cancer.


Interestingly, only a cup of cooked spinach contains over 60 percent of your daily folate requirements. And along with pole beans and radishes, it ranks in my three easiest and most profitable crops to grow. It just goes on bearing the whole summer through and, in moderate climates through the winter too; high folate levels are not difficult to achieve unless you have an aversion to dark green leafy vegetables.

About 30 percent is lost in the cooking, so steam lightly. Raw young leaves in our fresh spinach recipes with apples and avocado is obviously even better, but it's much easier to eat 100g of cooked than raw spinach. Snap and lima beans, avocado and strawberries are all high in folate.

There is really no need for anyone to be folate deficient, unless you're still on a black and white diet. Isn't it about time to upgrade and move to colour?

Growing lettuce

Every month I plant a one-yard-row of lettuce. It took me yesterday, literally, fifteen minutes. They supply us daily with more than ample fresh green, folate-rich, leafy lettuce.

Got fifteen minutes, once a month, and a small patch of ground? Whether it's one of the causes of infertility, a heart or mental condition, anaemia, pregnancy... we should all be eating these high folate levels foods. 

Two weeks old. Within a month we'll be snipping off leaves every day for our daily benefits of folate ... so easy, fresh lettuce is essential for the perfect salad.

Foods high in folate

Add half an avocado, some peppers and herbs, a side dish of hummus and an olive oil and lemon juice condiment and you have the perfect high folate levels meal.

If you are banting then it's vital to have sufficient of these vitamins or you'll have a build up of toxic homocysteine; that's deadly. Literally.

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Hilton, KZN

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Foods high in folate

Bernie's healthy spinach dip is rich in folate.
Lettuce seedlings are rich in folate, but these look anaemic; they need more nitrogen.
Avocados are rich in folate, vitamin B9.
Green lima beans provide folate and vegetable protein.
Beetroot has the benefits of folate and is the cure for constipation.
Asparagus soup will provide you with more folate.
Cauliflower soup is rich in folate.
Plant broccoli seedlings for the benfits of folate.
Legumes like lentils have folate and are the best source of vegetable protein.
If you know how to grow peas you'll have plenty of folate in your diet.
An orange juice squeezer makes getting plenty of folate simpler.

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Bernard Preston books

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Femoral nerve AP Xray from one of Bernard Preston's books.

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Cooking green beans Bernard Preston passion

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Bread machine loaf by Bernard Preston

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green beans and granadillas Bernard Preston

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Bees workforce in Bernard Preston's garden

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