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The #1 Worst Eating Habit for Dementia, Suggests New Study

You need to ensure you’re getting enough of this vitamin.
FACT CHECKED BY Kristen Warfield

While there are certainly plenty of reasons to take vitamin C every day and vitamin D definitely does some amazing things for your body, there's now a very good reason to add vitamin B9 (folate) to the list of vitamins to make sure that you're consuming on a regular basis.

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That's because research recently published in the Evidence Based Mental Health journal has shown that not ensuring that you're getting enough vitamin B9 could be an eating habit that's connected to developing dementia.

While looking at medical records from more than 27,000 people who were all 60 to 75 years old, researchers found that those who were deficient in folate were also "68% more likely to be diagnosed with dementia," per EurekAlert!.

"Folate seems to influence cognitive function," LisaYoung, PhD, RDN and a member of the ETNT medical review board, tells Eat This, Not That!."It is crucial to the proper functioning of the nervous system and in the elderly, a deficiency may contribute to the aging brain which can elevate dementia risk."

At the same time, Dr. Young points out that "too much folate can mask a B12 deficiency so if you have a tendency for a B12 deficiency, you should notify your MD if taking folate supplements." Beyond that, Young adds, "It's plentiful in food so it's easy to get enough."

Indeed, if you're looking to add more vitamin B9 to your diet, Dr. Young says "it is plentiful in fruits and vegetables as well as legumes/beans—asparagus, lettuce, beans, chickpeas, broccoli, and most fruits and veggies contain folate. Its name folate even comes from foliage." On top of that, "the bread supply (wheat bread and flour) is also fortified with folate."

To find out more about how to make sure you're getting enough vitamin B9 in your diet, be sure to read The 20 Best Folate-Rich Foods.

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more