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To lower stroke risk, be sure to get this B vitamin

Green vegetables and citrus fruits are good natural sources of folate.

If you’re among the one in three American adults with high blood pressure, be sure you’re getting enough of the B vitamin known as folate. Doing so may lower your odds of having a stroke, a new study suggests.

Folate occurs naturally in many foods, but especially green leafy vegetables, beans, and citrus fruits. And in the United States, most grain products (including wheat flour, cornmeal, pasta, and rice) are fortified with the synthetic version of the vitamin, known as folic acid.

Selected food sources of folate


Micrograms (mcg

Breakfast cereal, fortified with 25% of
the daily value, ¾ cup


Great northern beans, boiled, ½ cup


Asparagus, boiled, 4 spears


Broccoli, chopped, frozen, cooked, ½ cup


Spinach, raw, 1 cup


Green peas, frozen, boiled, ½ cup


Orange, 1 medium


Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.

“Fruits and vegetables are important sources of folate in the diet, and they bring lots of other benefits, such as potassium and phytonutrients, that also help lower the risk for cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study, in the March 15, 2015, Journal of the American Medical Association, included more than 20,000 adults in China with high blood pressure who had never had a stroke or heart attack. Participants who took folic acid supplements along with the blood pressure drug enalapril (Vasotec) were less likely to have had a stroke over the four-and-a-half-year trial than those who took enalapril alone.

The new findings are most relevant for people in countries like China that don’t fortify grain products with folic acid. Still, they’re a good reminder to take a close look at your diet to make sure you’re getting enough of this crucial nutrient.

In the United States, the average person gets about a quarter of the recommended daily intake of folic acid (400 micrograms) just from fortified grain products. However, certain groups of people might fall a little short, such as those in the southwestern United States who use the corn flour known as masa, which is not folate-fortified. People on gluten-free diets who don’t eat products made with wheat flour might also be a little low in
folate, says Dr. Willett. 

Posted by: Dr.Health

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