Folate is a form of B vitamin found naturally in foods. It is particularly essential for mothers before and during pregnancy, as it helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Folic acid, found in vitamin pills and some foods, is easier to absorb, so women planning for a child should take supplements.
Research also suggests that folate helps reduce the chance of heart disease in both men and women. Women who drink moderately may have a lower chance of developing breast cancer with the proper intake of folate.