Folate is a form of a water-soluble B vitamin. It is also known as vitamin B9. It can be mistaken for folic acid, which is also a form of vitamin B, but while folate can be found in foods, folic acid is a synthetic form of this vitamin and can only be found in fortified foods and supplements.
Like any other B vitamin, folate helps body to turn food into energy. This vitamin is important for the formation of both red and white blood cells in the bone marrow. Folate is very important in the periods of rapid growth, such as pregnancy and infancy. Adequate intake of this vitamin reduces the risk of birth defects.
Some of the best sources of folate are asparagus, beef liver, black-eyed peas, lentils and broccoli.