Hi! I'm Stelios Pantazis. I'm a doctor and I specialize in medical nutrition and metabolic disorders. Today, I'd like to talk about folic acid. Folic acid is extremely important for the health, particularly for our genetic material, but it also plays an important role in other processes of the body. It's also extremely important for healthy babies, therefore women that are pregnant or try to get pregnant should take folic acid in the form of dietary supplements. Folic acid is also called vitamin B9. It is mainly found in foods in the form of leaves, for example, spinach, cabbage, rocket etc. After I present the important functions of folic acid, I'll tell you the foods from which you can take sufficient amounts of folic acid, so that you can enjoy all its benefits to your health. Let's start with the significant benefits of folic acid to our health. First, it protects from genetic damages of the nervous system. The intake of folic acid before and during pregnancy prevents genetic disorders in the infant, particularly those related to the nervous system. It also reduces the chances of premature birth and heart disorders, it prevents the occurrence of cleft lip and other genetic conditions. The guidelines recommend 400 ìg of folic acid/day as a dietary supplement for women that are pregnant or intend to get pregnant. Second, it protects from depression and mood disorders. Rather important scientific data show that people with low folic acid in their blood suffer more often from mood problems or depression. Studies have also shown that antidepressants are more effective when they're co-administered with folic acid. Third, it prevents developmental disorders in children. Some initial data show that folic-acid deficiency in children can cause problems to their physical and mental development. Knowing the important role folic acid plays in the function of the nervous system, this fact shouldn't be surprising. Fourth, it reduces the chances of dementia. As you've understood by now, folic acid plays an important role in the function of the nervous system, particularly the brain. Studies have shown that people with low folic acid in their blood suffer more often from degenerative brain diseases, namely from dementia. Moreover, in a study that was completed in 2019, it was proven that the administration of 400 ìg of folic acid a day for two years significantly improved the brain function compared to a control group that didn't take folic acid. Finally, even in people diagnosed with dementia that take the appropriate medication, it seems that the addition of folic acid protects the brain. Protection from cardiovascular diseases and strokes. Folic acid plays an important role in the vessels' health, mainly through its important effect on homocysteine. As we've said in a previous video, homocysteine is a substance that increases in the body when there's a deficiency of folic acid or vitamin B12. Folic-acid sufficiency prevents the production and accumulation of homocysteine in the body and, therefore, it protects from potential damages to the heart and vessels. It protects from hypertension. Hypertension is one of the most important risk factors for the heart's health and folic-acid deficiency increases the risk of arterial hypertension. It protects from diabetes. Folic-acid sufficiency contributes to the better metabolism of carbohydrates, the decrease of blood sugar and the better regulation of insulin production. In the long run, this protects us from the risk of diabetes. It helps with fertility. Studies by specialised fertility centres have shown that folic-acid sufficiency guarantees better chances of a successful pregnancy. It protects from the homocysteinemia of kidney disease. People suffering from serious kidney problems often face the problem that their kidneys are unable to remove homocysteine from the body. The administration of folic acid as a dietary supplement helps reduce homocysteine in the body and, in this way, it protects the heart. It reduces the side-effects of methotrexate. Methotrexate is a drug that is extensively used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, especially rheumatoid arthritis. The co-administration with folic acid reduces the side-effects by almost 80%. Now that we've seen the very useful benefits of folic acid, let's see which foods we can take it from. Legumes. Legumes, these amazing super-foods that we should all eat very often, are very rich in many nutrients, including folic acid. For example, one plate of lentils covers 90% of our daily needs for folic acid. A plate of beans covers almost 40% of them. Leafy vegetables. As we said earlier, folic acid is named after the leaves where it's abundant. Therefore, it's not surprising that just 100 gr of raw spinach cover almost 50% of our daily needs for folic acid. The same applies for all the other leafy vegetables, such as rocket, lettuce, kale etc. Beetroots. Just 200 gr of beetroots cover almost 50% of our daily needs for folic acid. Also take account that beetroots are really nutritious and delicious. Citrus fruit. Unfortunately, most people eat fruit and vegetables in the winter. In these cases, citrus fruit can guarantee the sufficiency of many nutrients in the body. Take account that just three big oranges cover 50% of our needs for folic acid. Broccoli. One of the tastiest and most nutritious vegetables you can find in the winter is broccoli. Broccoli is very rich in folic acid and just 200 gr of boiled broccoli cover half our daily needs. Let me remind you that broccoli is much tastier when baked in the oven. Avocado. Avocado was recently added to the Greek diet, but, fortunately, since it's grown in Crete, it's now really easy to find local, affordable and very tasty avocados in the supermarket. Just one avocado covers half our daily needs for folic acid. These are some of the amazing benefits of folic acid and an abundance of foods that contain large amounts of it, so that you can cover your daily needs in an easy and tasty way. If you thought this was interesting, please give us a thumbs up. Share it with people who you think might find it interesting and subscribe to our channel in order to get notified when we upload a video. You can also suggest subjects in the comment section. Thank you very much!

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