This is a quick summary of why you need folate, also known as vitamin B9, in your diet. Folate is important for healthy fetal development. It is important in preventing heart disorders, sperm abnormalities, and birth defects. Folate also helps build muscles, and is needed for red blood cell production. Below are 5 reasons why you need folate. (This post may contain affiliate links).

1. You Need Folate for Healthy Fetal Development

Folate is important for healthy blood in adults as well as unborn babies. Thus, folate sufficiency reduces the risk of folate-deficiency anemia. Macrocytic anemia is another name for this type of anemia. “Macro” means big, “cytic” refers to cells. Thus, “macrocytic” literally means large red blood cells.

2. Red Blood Cell Production and Prevention of Anemia.

Anytime anemia is present, it means there is not enough oxygen being transported through the blood. This results in fatigue for the already born person. Anemia causes mental retardation, learning disabilities, and increased risk of infection and growth retardation. Thus, folate insufficiency during pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects in the unborn child.

3. Folate Prevents Birth Defects

Studies show that sufficient folate intake during pregnancy reduces birth defects by 50%.

4. Prevents Heart Disorders

Homocysteine is an amino acid that, when it is too high, leads to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Sufficient folate in the diet reduces harmful homocysteine levels in the blood. Thus, folate reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by reducing homocysteine levels in the blood.

Folate has also been shown to reduce the thickening of the arterial wall. This is another way that folate reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

5. Folate Fights against Chromosome Abnormalities

Folate fights against chromosome (think “genetic”) abnormalities in sperm. This means that it is possible to reduce the risk of birth defects even before conception by assuring you are eating enough folate-rich foods. This applies to men as well as women.

Originally I only intended to write about 5 Reasons Why You Need Folate. However, I found another good reason. (And there are more, but this is just a quick summary).

6. Folate is important for Healthy Muscles

Muscles are made stronger and bigger with the help of folate, which is required for the conversion of arginine to nitric oxide (NO). So, if you or anyone you know, is trying to strengthen and grow your muscles, a folate-rich diet will help with this process.

Below is a delicious recipe that is rich in folate, vitamin B6, iron, vitamin a, vitamin c, and fiber.

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Lentil Tomato Spinach Stew
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Lentil Tomato Spinach Stew

Delicious, fragrant, healthy and inexpensive/frugal 
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword beans, easy, frugal, healthy, high fiber, high protein, iron rich, vitamin a, vitamin c
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 185kcal
Author Deborah Hanyon, MPH, RDN, ACE-CHC


  • 8 ounces Dried Lentils (1/2 package) Don't need to soak before cooking
  • 4.5 cups Water
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Onions chopped
  • 1 14.5 ounce can Tomatoes (no salt)
  • 6 oz Spinach Fresh (can use frozen, thawed, 5 oz)
  • 2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Oregano, dried
  • 1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Parsley, fresh or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil


Combine all ingredients into Dutch Oven

    Bring to a Boil

      Reduce Heat and Simmer covered for 45 minutes.

        Serve with pita or sourdough bread and hummus


          Serving: 1cup | Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 405mg | Potassium: 452mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 700IU | Vitamin C: 17.3mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 3.2mg







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