A new study of over 100,000 people shows a 50% reduction in pancreatic cancer for women that consume more than 250mcg of folate per day. The same reduction was not found in men.
This study is the most recent study to associate folate consumption with a reduction in cancer. Additionally, doctors at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston have found that cancer patients commonly are deficient in folate, as well as other vitamins.
For those of you that are interested here is a list of foods that are high in folate:
Bulgur, 6 oz cooked – 158mcg
Okra, 3 oz cooked – 134mcg
Spinach, 3oz cooked -130mcg
White beans, 3 oz cooked – 120mcg
Red kidney beans, 3 oz cooked – 114mcg
Soy beans, 3 oz cooked – 100mcg
Wheat germ, 1 oz – 100mcg
Asparagus, 3 oz cooked – 88mcg
Avocado, ½ fruit – 81mcg
Brussels sprouts, 3 oz cooked – 79mcg
Lima beans, 3 oz cooked – 78mcg
Chickpeas, 3 oz cooked – 70mcg
Sunflower seeds, 1 oz – 65mcg
Spinach, 1 cup raw – 58mcg
As you can see from the list above if you eat two servings of beans a day and a small spinach salad you will have no difficulty reaching and exceeding 250mcg of folate per day. Just in case, I will be adding wheat germ to our morning smoothies and sunflower seeds to our salads.
Please note the abstract points out that there was no association between folic acid supplementation and cancer risk. As usual it appears to be better to get your nutrition from food rather than supplements.
The nutrition fact sheet on folate found here includes a different list of foods high in the nutrient. Additionally they point out that the upper limit for folate is 1000mcg of adults. Also there are various medications that interfere with the absorption of folate these include: oral contraceptives, antacids, and aspirin to name a few. Drinking and smoking also increases your need for folate.
The message I take away from this is that it is important to continue to eat whole natural food, particularly in the form of vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds and whole grains.