Saturday, March 13, 2010

Folate Yourself

One of the first things I thought of when I got pregnant was folic acid. (Second to being able to eat more food of course!) It's one of those vitamins I knew was important but didn't know why. Here's the lowdown.

1. Folate = a vitamin found naturally in many foods. Folate helps your body make new cells.
2. Folic Acid = the man-made form of folate. It can be taken in vitamin pills. It is also added to many grain products such as cereals, breads, pastas, white rice, cornmeals and flours.

Why do women need folate?

Folate helps keep your blood healthy. Not getting enough can cause a type of anemia. Having anemia means you have fewer healthy red blood cells than normal. This makes it hard for your blood to carry enough oxygen through out your body. For pregnant women, folate can help prevent some birth defects. For everyone, experts think that folate might also help prevent some cancers, Alzheimer's and hearing loss as you age.

How much do women need?

All women capable of pregnancy need 400-800 micrograms of folate each day, EVEN IF they are NOT planning to get pregnant.

Eat foods high in folate:

• beans and lentils
• peas (black-eyed peas, chickpeas, green peas) - mmmm, my hummus!
• juices (orange, tomato, grapefruit, pineapple)
• fruits (oranges, cantaloupe, honeydew, avocado, papaya, raspberries)
• soymilk
• vegetables (green leafy veggies such as spinach, lettuce, turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, and chinese cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, artichokes, okra, corn, cauliflower, potato, beets, green onions, sweet red peppers)
• nuts and sunflower seeds
• peanuts and peanut butter
• liver and giblets (yeah, I'll get right on that!)

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