It is increasingly recognized that folates may play a role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Over the last few years, several studies have reported beneficial effects of folates on endothelial function, a surrogate end point for cardiovascular risk. Consistently, observational studies have demonstrated an association between folate levels and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The exact mechanisms underlying the ameliorative effects of folates on the endothelium remain to be elucidated. Thus far, most studies have focused on the homocysteine-lowering effects of folates. However, recently, benefits of folates independent of homocysteine lowering have also been reported. Potential mechanisms include antioxidant actions, effects on cofactor availability, or direct interactions with the enzyme endothelial NO synthase. Obviously, beneficial effects of folates on cardiovascular risk would have important clinical and dietary consequences. However, for definite conclusions, the completion of ongoing randomized controlled trials will have to be awaited.