Research suggests folic acid, or folate, the B vitamin that helps prevent neural tube defects and heart disease, may also prevent depression.
A study of 3,000 participants, aged 15 to 39, enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the United States found that otherwise healthy young people who met the criteria for major depression had lower folate levels than people who had never been depressed. They also found low folate levels in people who had recently recovered from depression.
To increase your folate level, eat dark green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, romaine lettuce and brussels sprouts, as well as orange juice, liver, cooked beans, chickpeas, lentils, corn, asparagus, peas, nuts, sunflower seeds, and enriched breads, cereal and pasta.
To meet your daily folate needs, choose four servings of food from this list:
• Asparagus (5 spears)
• Black Beans, kidney beans or chick peas cooked (1/2 cup/125 mL)
• Broccoli, cooked (1-1/2 cups/375 mL)
• Brussel sprouts (3/4 cup/175 mL)
• Florida avocado (half)
• Green peas (1 cup/250 mL)
• Hummus (1/2 cup/125 mL)
• Lentils, cooked (1/4 cup/50 mL)
• Orange juice, fresh or diluted from concentrate (1-1/2 cups/375 mL)
• Oranges, medium (2)
• Pasta, cooked (1 cup/250 mL)
• Peanuts, dry roasted (1/2 cup/125 mL)
• Romaine lettuce, shredded (1-1/2 cup/375 mL)
• Spinach, cooked (1/2 cup/125 mL)
• Sunflower seeds, roasted (1/3 cup/75 mL)
A 3-ounce (90 g) serving of liver gives you...
• Liver, beef, cooked (198 mcg)
• Liver, chicken, cooked (693 mcg)
• Liver, veal, cooked (288 mcg)
Check out some folate-rich recipes:
Spiced Lentils and Rice
Three-Bean Lentil Soup
Apple and Spinach Salad with Cheddar
Cheesy Spinach Squares
Asparagus Spears with Dill and Cream
Broccoli and Cheese Soufflé
Broccoli and Cauliflower with Garlic and Oil
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