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Vitamin B9 also commonly known as folic acid or folate is imperative for proper health and metabolism of the body. It is also the only vitamin that has shown to increase appetite. Deficiency of vitamin B9 may lead to heart palpitations, poor growth, tongue inflammation, gingivitis, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, diarrhea, irritability, forgetfulness and mental sluggishness.
Why do we need vitamin B9?
There are a number of reasons why it is important to get adequate amount of folic acid. Perhaps most important is cellular growth and regeneration. It allows the body to do many essential functions like DNA synthesis and repair, red blood cell production and prevention of anemia. Folic acid is the catalyst that stimulates appetite.
Vitamin B9 controls the level of cholesterol in the heart, checks the concentration of homocysteine in the body, and eradicates the chances of bowel and cervical cancer. Other benefits include cell enhancement and building of muscles. It also assists digestion. This essential nutrient is found very effective in treating depression and anxiety. Folic acid is extremely important for pregnancy and lactation to ensure proper fetal development.
While vitamin B9 is often taken as a dietary supplement, many foods serve as healthy and natural sources of this essential vitamin.
Vitamin B9 sources
Green leafy vegetables: Leafy vegetables are extremely nutrient-dense with loads of essential vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and powerful antioxidants to help you maintain your body function. Vegetables such as spinach, peas, lettuce and turnip greens are a significant source of vitamin B9. Just one large plate of these delicious leafy greens can provide you with almost all of your daily needs for folate.
Other vegetables: Carrots are an excellent source of folate. Eat baby carrots as a snack or add them to your salads for a folate boost. Beets are also known as one of the best foods with folic acid. Cauliflower is typically regarded as one of the best vitamin C foods but is also a great source of folic acid. You can add fresh cauliflowers to a salad with other folic acid foods on the list.
Cereals and grains: Some breakfast cereals are also a good source of folic acid. Rice is a good source of vitamin B9.
Citrus fruits: Many fruits contain folic acid but citrus fruits rank the highest. Oranges are an especially rich source of folic acid. Other folate-rich fruits include papayas, grapefruit, bananas and strawberries.
Other sources: Chicken liver is a rich source of vitamin B9. Though they are high in cholesterol and saturated fat, chicken livers are extremely nutrient-dense when it comes to folate. Hazelnut also exhibits one of the highest folate content. Avocados are one of the best foods with folic acid. They are also an excellent source of fatty acids, vitamin K and dietary fibre.
Image source: Getty Images
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