Folic acid is a B vitamin that reduces the risk of heart disease, some cancers and other medical conditions. It's also important during pregnancy to prevent birth defects. Folic acid is the most effective way of getting vitamin B9 into the body. This man-made vitamin can be found in supplements, and it's added to many fortified foods such as grains.
Vitamin B9, which is known as folic acid or folate, cannot be produced in the body. It's one of those vitamins the body needs and has to get through foods. Folate occurs naturally in foods, while folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that has been added to fortified foods.
Folic acid works with vitamin B12 to create haemoglobin for red blood cells. It has an essential part to play concerning genes and protein developing DNA and RNA.
Folic acid is found in fortified foods. When you see "enriched" grain foods, that indicates that folic acid has been added. Enriched foods include instant oatmeal, rice, bread, rolls, pasta, grits, pretzels and items with enriched flour such as flour tortillas, cookies and crackers. Cereals are an excellent way to get folic acid into your diet. Breakfast cereals have 100 to 400 micrograms of folic acid per serving. Always check the nutrition label for folic acid. Most imported foods don't have it.
Natural Folate Foods
The natural form of folate, which is called food folate, isn't as easily absorbed by the body as the synthetic form, folic acid. Folate-rich foods have a unique composition that provide the body with better sources of vitamins, minerals and high fibre. These foods are also low fat, low sodium and cholesterol free. Foods rich in folate include spinach, collard greens, mustard greens, broccoli, turnip greens, peanuts, black-eyed peas, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans and pinto beans. Other folate foods good for the body are avocado, asparagus, orange juice, oranges and strawberries.
Eat More Folic Acid
There are some simple things you can do to get more folic acid in your diet. Drink 100% orange juice with your breakfast cereal, or add some strawberries to your cereal. For lunch, make a salad of leafy green vegetables such as romaine lettuce or spinach. For a snack, create a trail mix using high-fibre cereal with folic acid, peanuts and the dried fruit of your choice.
When you're eating out, order foods rich with folic acid. For instance, if you like burritos or tacos, order them filled with beans instead of chicken or beef. Avocados have folate, so add some guacamole to your burrito or taco. The salad bar has romaine lettuce and raw spinach that can be an excellent choice. Then dress your salad with garbanzo beans, broccoli, peanuts or oranges to make it folate-healthy. To drink, order orange juice. And in place of those french fries, order a fresh fruit cup.