It’s been known for some time that folic acid–which can be found in lentils, beans, peas, and many dark green vegetables–can benefit our health. Now, a new study shows that it can significantly reduce the risk of stroke.
The study, which was carried out by researchers in China and involved an examination of roughly 20,000 adult subjects, found that consuming foods heavy in folic acid can help regulate blood pressure.
Researchers followed their subjects for a period of four and a half years. They found that those participants taking the blood pressure medication enalapril and a folic acid supplement were less likely to experience a stroke than people taking only enalapril.
Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a New York-based heart expert, says the findings are very important. “If all that is required to prevent the greatest health threat worldwide is a vitamin, then we need to consider checking patients’ blood levels of folic acid and supplementing if needed.”
“The study shows that with supplementation of folic acid, it might actually help prevent the risk of stroke,” Steinbaum added.
Folic acid can be found in foods like broccoli, asparagus, beets, brussels sprouts, spinach, dried beans, lentils, peas, oranges, whole-wheat products and liver.
Dr. Walter Willett, a professor of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says it’s crucial the public understand the study’s results. “Fruits and vegetables are important sources of folate in the diet, and they also bring lots of other benefits, such as potassium and phytonutrients, that also help lower cardiovascular disease.”
The Chinese study can now be read in the most recent edition of the American Medical Association journal.