Pregnant women and women who are trying to conceive are advised to consume foods rich in folic acid. It is very essential to consume such foods along with folic acid supplements so that defects of spinal cord, brain and other birth defects are prevented in babies. Find more about the foods rich in folic acid.
If you are pregnant, one thing you need at the prenatal stage itself is folic acid, which is a B-vitamin (vitamin B9). It helps to protect your baby from developing neural tube defects (NTDs), such as defects of spinal cord (such as spina bifida), brain (such as anencephaly), and other birth defects, such as cleft lip, cleft palate, and certain types of heart defects. The recommended dose for every pregnant woman is 400 mcg of folic acid each day. Along with taking folic acid supplements to get the recommended amount, you should not miss eating foods rich in folate that are good for you and our baby.
Fortified cereals supply 100-400 mcg of folic acid in half to one and half cup serving. You must look for at least 35% of the daily value of folic acid in the food labels as you will have multiple servings of cereals in a day. Have a bowl of cereals in the morning with milk. You can prefer having whole-wheat pasta, which contains 100 mcg of folic acid along with carbohydrates – the fundamental fuel provider of your body – and enriched bread, each of which offers 60 mcg.
Beans and Lentils
Beans are a major source of folic acid, and they are full of key nutrients, including calcium, potassium, etc. One cup of kidney beans offers 229 mcg of folate, while black beans offer 256 mcg. Lentils are the mighty members of legume family, one cup of which offers almost 358 mcg of folate per cup. Cook the beans with spices, try them stir-fry or add them in soups and stews – you can enjoy beans, peas, and lentils in various ways.
Green Vegetables and Leafy Greens
Folate means foliage, referring to the leafy green vegetables containing high concentrations of the vitamin. Spinach, kale, turnip greens, lettuce, etc. contain abundant folate; spinach tops the chart by offering 263 mcg of folate per cup. Celery also contains 34 mcg of folate per cup and broccoli provides 104 mcg of folate per cup. Firm and fresh asparagus with closed tips offer 79 mcg of folate per cup, which accounts for approximately 65% of your daily needs.
Seeds and Nuts
Sesame seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and also peanuts and almonds are especially high in folate, with providing up to 300 mcg per cup serving. You can have them raw, sprouted, or sprinkled on salad. You can munch them raw as a quick snack, add them to granola cereals for some added crunch, sprout them and have, sprinkle them on salad, bake them in breads, or add them in soups for increased texture and a slightly nutty taste.
Citrus fruits rank the highest in offering folate. One papaya provides 115 mcg of folate, while an orange can offer 40 mcg of the same. However, papaya is a heat inducing food and it is not advisable to have it during pregnancy as it can cause miscarriage. Cantaloupe or squash are good source of folate, as a cup of them provides 36-57 mcg of folic acid. You can add summer squash or winter squash in your diet to have a daily boost intake of folic acid. Other folate-rich fruits include grapefruit, grapes, banana, strawberries, and avocados. Eat them as a snack or bite on them whenever free.
Besides the above-mentioned important sources of folic acid, do not miss on the other food sources of folate. Eggs are nutrient-dense, supplying 25 mcg of folate each. Eating a cup of boiled beets can offer 136 mcg of folate. One cup of cooked corn will give you approximately 76 mcg of folic acid. A cup of raw carrots will give you almost 5% of your daily recommended needs for folic acid. The best way to make sure you are having sufficient folic acid is to maintain a healthy diet of the above-mentioned foods along with the daily folic acid supplements.
Which foods are the rich sources of folic acid or folate? How much folic acid is required by a pregnant woman daily? Is it necessary to have folic acid supplement if pregnant woman consumes foods rich in folic acid? Discuss here.
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- The Indiaparenting Team