We are on the 6th Nutrigenomix test today (see previous 5 here) on Folate and the risk of heart disease and stroke. Folate is a water soluble B vitamin that is involved in cell growth and development including prevention of neural tube defects and the production of red blood cells. Low levels of Folate can increase the risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
Researchers have discovered we all differ in how much Folate we absorb even when we consume the same amount. This difference lies with our genes. If you have the CT or TT variant for the Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene, you will not have as much of this enzyme available to convert Folate to its most active form. As a result, you will be at higher risk for having low Folate levels and be at increased risk for developing heart disease and stroke.
My results came back as not possessing this gene variant so I do not have an increased genetic risk for Folate deficiency. I still need to continue meeting the daily requirement of 400mcg of Folate daily to help prevent deficiency. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to get enough Folate from food as long as I remember to eat my fiber and my green leafy vegetables daily.
To increase Folate, I discovered the food with the highest amount of Folate is liver. Honestly I can’t even remember the last time I ate liver, so I am not sure this will be my preference on a regular basis! Lentils on the other hand are high in fiber and folate (265mcg in ¾ cup) which I can easily incorporate into my diet. If I add that to my spinach and asparagus salad, I add another 200mcg. To keep me from getting bored, I can choose from any of the legumes as they are all high in Folate.
Other great sources include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, avocado, okra, parsnips, all green leafy vegetables, beets, artichokes, seaweed, orange, durian, nuts and eggs.
If I eat a diet that has a variety of wholesome foods, I will be more likely to achieve my daily goals of not only Folate, but all nutrients.
Do you eat lentils or beans on a regular basis? If so, what is your favorite dish? I am always looking for new ways to incorporate them into my diet and would love hear some new ideas.