folate (FOH-layt)is a nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Folate helps to make red blood cells. It is found in whole-grain breads and cereals, liver, green vegetables, orange juice, lentils, beans, and yeast. Folate is water-soluble (can dissolve in water) and must be taken in every day. Not enough folate can cause anemia (a condition in which the number of red blood cells is below normal), diseases of the heart and blood vessels, and defects in the brain and spinal cord in a fetus. Folate is being studied with vitamin B12 in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Also called folic acid.