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Folate, B9 and asparagus
By Nutritional Therapist Roisin Cooke, graduate of the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) in Edinburgh.

Getting your Folate
Folate is known as Vitamin B9 and is naturally occurring in foods, whilst folic acid is the synthetic form found in fortified foods and some supplements.
Why you need it:
-Folate is one of the B vitamins which help the body convert food into fuel and therefore energy.
-Folate plays an important role in brain health and may improve memory.
-It is one of the many nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy as it is involved in the production of DNA and RNA, the body's genetic material.  It is shown to reduce birth defects called neural tube defects.
-Folate is used in the production of blood.  A deficiency in folate may lead to anaemia.
Drinking alcohol regularly can reduce your folate levels.
What do you find it in?
The word folate is derived from the Latin word "folium," meaning leaf, so folate can be found in green leafy vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, but also dried beans, peas and sunflower seeds.
Seasonal tip:
Wash Asparagus in cold water and remove the tough part of the spear by bending it.  The spear will break naturally where the soft and tough parts meet.  Asparagus can be steamed, roasted, added to soups, salads or omelets. White asparagus can have a more delicate flavor.  People suffering from gout or oxalate-containing kidney stones should only eat asparagus in moderation!

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