Folic Acid Foods

and signs of a folic acid deficiency

vitamin A foods vitamin D foods vitamin E foods vitamin K foods vitamin B1 foods vitamin B2 foods vitamin B3 foods vitamin B5 foods vitamin B6 foods folic acid foods vitamin B12 foods vitamin C foods

Quality folic acid foods are vital for females attempting to become pregnant, as folic acid is essential for fetal development.  In fact it is recommended that females attempting to conceive should take extra folic acid in the form of a supplement for 3 months prior to conception and for the first three months of pregnancy.

Folic acid, otherwise known as vitamin B10, works best when it is combined with vitamin B12 and vitamin C as these are need to convert it to a more active form in the body. 

It is essential in protecting an unborn baby from neural tube defects that lead to spin bifid a and also helps in the prevention of cleft palate.

Folic acid works to keep red blood cells healthy working in combination with vitamin B12.  Decreased levels can lead to a type of anaemia, different to the type of anaemia associated with a lack or iron. 

Essential Folic Acid Foods

folic acid foods
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  • Liver (but not for pregnant women)
  • Yeast
  • Wheat germ
  • Barley
  • Lamb
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Nuts and pulses such as lentils
  • Most green leafy vegetables

Because folic acid dissolves in water, these foods are best steamed or microwaved to prevent the flolates contained in them from being destroyed caused by overcooking.

Although folic acid is found in most foods, pregnant women should avoid liver as it may contain high levels of vitamin A that could be toxic.  

Other folic acid benefits include energy production and the formation of red blood cells.  It also strengthens immunity by aiding in the formation and function of white blood cells.  Folic acid may also help in the treatment of depression and anxiety.

Other reasons to increase folic acid intake could be:

  • Periods of fast growth (in infants and adolescents)
  • Preconception and pregnancy
  • The contraceptive pill
  • Alcohol
  • High intake of refined foods
  • General malabsorption

It has been suggested that folic acid can be used to help prevent colon cancer and cervical cancer.  It has also been reported that it can help in the prevention of heart disease and stroke.  

Signs of folic acid deficiency:

  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Spina bifida
  • Some forms of anaemia
  • Fatigue
  • Breathlessness
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Poor memory

The causes of a deficiency can be an inadequate intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, or eating only cooked or microwaved vegetables, as cooking destroys the folic acid contained in them.

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