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Eat Your Vegetables. It Could Help Reduce Risk of Coronary Heart Disease by 31%

Folate, a B vitamin found primarily in vegetables, has been linked to reduced risk of coronary heart disease by researchers from Nanjing University in China. The findings were published in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases online ahead of print on September 19, 2011.

The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 15 studies published before August of 2010. Seven of the studies examined dietary folate intake and the other eight looked at blood folate levels.

They found that participants with the highest folate consumption were 31% less likely to experience coronary heart disease compared to those with the lowest intake. Additionally, they found that for all participants, increasing consumption of folate by 200 mcg a day was associated with a 12% reduction in overall risk.

When examining blood levels of folate, the researchers found that subjects with the highest levels were at a 26% lower risk of developing coronary heart disease. For all participants, an increase of 5 nmol per liter was associated with an 8% reduction in overall risk.

The scientists noted that all of these studies involved folate obtained by eating vegetables. They suggested that further research is needed to determine if the folate found in vegetables is the mechanism behind these health benefits or if people who eat more vegetables tend to live a healthier lifestyle.

Folate plays a very important role in many essential functions in the human body. It assists with nervous system function, red blood cell formation, and hormone function. It is also linked to reducing the risk of depression, hearing loss and birth defects.

Folate can be found in asparagus, leafy green vegetables, beets, black beans, Brussels sprouts, pinto beans, oranges, strawberries, cantaloupes, , liver, eggs, and sunflower seeds.

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