Folate

Functions

Folate is another of the B group vitamins. The body needs folate for a number of reasons:

  • to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida – during pregnancy folate is required for the normal development of the foetus in the womb
  • for normal functioning and structure of the nervous system
  • for normal cell division
  • to help form healthy red blood cells

Sources

Brussels sprouts

The following foods contain folate:

  • green leafy vegetables such as kale or Brussels sprouts
  • oranges
  • bananas
  • fortified breakfast cereals

Deficiency

Not eating enough folate can cause harm to our bodies in a number of ways.

Neural tube defects: If a pregnant woman is deficient in folate before her pregnancy or very early in her pregnancy then the baby is at an increased risk of being born with a neural tube defect such as spina bifida.

Miscarriage: If a pregnant woman is deficient in folate before her pregnancy or very early in her pregnancy there is an increased risk of miscarriage.

Anaemia: A lack of folate can increase the risk of anaemia.