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In order to keep our body in perfect conditions so that it endures everyday stress, we need to provide it with substances that are mainly obtained from the diet and that are key factors in several vital functions. Some of these substances are even a fundamental part of human development, participating in the formation of a human being, from the womb to adulthood. This is the case of folates, also referred to as folic acid.
Get some spinach, liver and folates!
Folates, a group of water-soluble B vitamins, are present mainly in legumes, leafy green vegetables, some fruits like oranges and liver. Yes, even when you didn't like it, your mom had a very good reason to give you liver for dinner, since it is a great source of not only folates but also iron.
If eating liver is really not your thing, you can also get the amount of folates that you need from avocado, spinach, kale, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, beans and peas, seafood, and some grains.
Why is it so important to include good sources of folate in your diet? Folate, and other vitamins can´t be synthesized by our cells, which is the reason why they need to get them from an external dietary source.
Without these chemical modifications, even if we stuffed ourselves with spinach and Brussel sprouts, our cells would not be capable of using the folates present in the food we ate.
The function of folates in our cells
The main cell function in which folates participate is the synthesis of nucleotides. Nucleotides are like the building blocks that construct our DNA, which basically constitutes the only form in which our genetic information is stored and guarded. Folates also have an important role in the modification of DNA and the genetic expression.
Nucleotide synthesis is necessary especially during cell replication and when the DNA needs to be repaired and nucleotides have to be replaced because of an unwanted chemical modification caused by, for example, UV rays.