There is an epidemic of obesity and diabetes in this country and much of this stems from dietary deficiencies. One of the common vitamin and mineral deficiencies that people lack is folate. Folate is one of the most important vitamins that they body has because it is used to make more red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients all over the body and, without folate, the body becomes anemic. People start to lack red blood cells and could start to feel fatigued. With this in mind, why are people lacking folate and what are some folate-packed foods to boost these levels?

Dark, Leafy, Green Vegetables

Those who watched Popeye as a child likely remember the repeated scene where he eats spinach and suddenly becomes stronger. This is no fluke. Dark, leafy, green vegetables are one of the most important sources of folate in the world. This means eating foods such as spinach and romaine lettuce can help the body increase its level of folate. There are many different ways to cook these vegetables and they can be worked into a variety of different dishes. Whether it is in a stir-fry dish or a salad, vegetables with leaves on them are a good place to start when in search of folate.

Broccoli and Asparagus

In addition to the leafy vegetables, asparagus and broccoli are another good source of folate. These foods might not be the favorite of children; however, it is important to try to encourage children as well as adults to eat their vegetables. For those who are in search of a way to prepare these vegetables, think about steaming or grilling them to try and minimize the oil that they’re drizzled with. Once people realize the health benefits that come from these vegetables, they are more likely to eat them with regularity.

Citrus Fruits

For those in search of something a little bit sweeter, citrus fruits can also be a great source of folic acid. Folate can be found in fruits such as oranges and grapefruit. While some people like to drink the juice, it is important to note that the juice is often packed with more sugar and has almost no fiber. Therefore, augment the health benefits of these folate-containing foods by eating the entire fruit (aside from the skin). Papayas, strawberries, and raspberries are other folate-containing fruits that people might enjoy. While everyone focuses on the vitamin C, folate is found in high levels in these foods as well.

There are many different places that people can turn to in order to increase their folate levels; however, try to start with these. Those who have been anemic are likely to notice a turn-around in a period of a couple of weeks as the body makes more red blood cells. They should feel more invigorated and energized because their body’s tissues have an increased amount of oxygen and nutrients. Folate is an important ingredient and everyone should make sure that they are consuming a proper amount.