A B-vitamin that is naturally present in some foods such as broccoli, beans, bread, Brussels sprouts, corn, lentils, oranges, and spinach. It is also present in other foods that have been fortified with folic acid, such as whole grains for cereals, rice, pasta, and enriched breads. Also known as folate, this vitamin is an important nutritional requirement because it has been clinically shown to reduce the risk of complications from pregnancy (pre-eclampsia and neutral tube defects leading to birth defects), risks of cardiovascular and similarly related diseases, as well as various cancer risks like breast, lung, cervical, throat, and mouth cancers. Folate consumption has also been linked to higher levels of depression among individuals who have low levels of folate intake. A daily intake of .4 milligrams has been suggested for women who are or may become pregnant.
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