It is recommended that it is good to eat foods rich in folic
acid as folic acid has properties that are beneficial to our
health. What most of us are not aware of, however, is exactly
who needs to regularly consume foods rich in folic acid as well
as what exactly is the required amount of folic acid needed in
order for the body to reap the health benefits. There are foods
rich in folic acid, but many people do not know that by simply
changing your cooking method, you can retain high levels of
folate in your food.
If you are newly pregnant or you are planning to become
pregnant soon, you will benefit from consuming foods rich in
folic acid. If you are not pregnant yet and are only in the
planning stages, it is a good idea to begin monitoring your
folic acid intake. Ideally, pre-pregnant and pregnant women
need to have about 0.4 milligrams of folic acid per day. This
is according to the United States RDA, as they say that this
amount is ideal for promoting optimal health for mothers and
their unborn babies.
If you are a woman of child-bearing age, even if you are not
pregnant or planning to get pregnant, you need to consume foods
rich in folic acid. Folate-rich foods include green leafy
vegetables, seeds, nuts and poultry.
If you are taking prescription drugs, you should be aware that
the drugs you take can actually deplete folic acid present in
your body. Talk to your doctor or a medical practitioner about
your prescription drugs and how you can manage it together with
your folic acid intake.
It has been found in a number of studies that folic acid can
lower the risk of developing breast and colon cancer among
women. In addition, women who have increased intake of folic
acid before and after becoming pregnant have also been found to
have lower incidents of delivering babies with cleft lip and
Studies have shown that women who increased their intake of
folic acid up to two months after pregnancy lower the risk of
having babies with orofacial defects by 25% to 50%. Scientists
are still trying to determine the exact role of folic acid in
fetus development. What they do know, however, is that folic
acid lowers the risk of babies having spina bifida, heart
defect, anencephaly (underdeveloped brain and skull), cleft
palate or cleft lip.
Folic acid is a vitamin that people, particularly child-bearing
women, need. Incorporate foods that are rich in folic acid in
your daily diet. Doing so not only ensures your health, but the
health of your future child.
Causes of folic acid deficiency
- Poor eating habits
- Poor absorption
- Increased requirements e.g. due to growth or pregnancy
- Certain types of medication
- Certain disease conditions
- Oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
Symptoms of folic acid deficiency
- Poor growth
- Smooth, red and painful tongue
- Stomach and instestinal problems e.g. diarrhoea, constipation
- No appetite
- Fatigue / tiredness
Some foods that are high in folic acid
- Liver (best source)
- Chicken giblets
- Egg yolk
- Dried beans
- Spilt peas
- Lentils (dhals)
- Soya products
- Wholegrain breads
- Wheat flour
- Sweet potato
Fruits and Vegetables
- Brussel sprouts
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