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.
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.
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.
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.
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.