Folic acid is required for energy production in your body. It is considered brain food.
Folic acid also helps to strengthen your body's immune system, and can help reduce and support normal mood.
There is strong indication that higher intakes of folic acid may help reduce risks of heart disease by reducing blood levels of a substance called homocysteine and colon cancer. Most American's diets fall short.
Folic Acid is also known as Vitamin B-9.
Sources of Folic Acid
- Leafy greens such as spinach and turnip greens.
- Dry beans and peas.
- Fortified cereals and grain products.
- Fortified juices.
- Spices and herbs that contain folic acid are black pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, chili, ginger, mustard seed, turmeric, sage, thyme, cumin, allspice, fenugreek, basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, peppermint, curry, garlic, paprika, nutmeg, tarragon, anise, saffron, parsley, caraway seed, chives and chervil. (Source: Nutrition Data)
Easy Ways to Get Extra Folic Acid
- Papaya: 1 medium fruit equals 116mcg. Puree to make a topping for yogurt or fat-free ice cream.
- Orange juice: 1 cup equals 72mcg. Add OJ to your next smoothie for a citrusy kick.
- Snow Peas: 1 cup cooked equals 56mcg. Steam and toss into pasta salad and stir fries.
- Broccoli: One-half cup cooked equals 84mcg. Hide florets in the layers of your lasagna.
- Asparagus: 4 spears equals 89mcg. Toss with pasta and other vegetables for a vegetarian-style main dish.
- Lentils: One-half cup cooked equals 179mcg. Add to chili along with other beans.
- Spinach: 1 cup cooked equals 263mcg. Add a Greek spin to quesadillas by filling them with a combination of spinach and feta in a wheat tortilla.
- Edamame: 1 cup cooked equals 200mcg. Add them (frozen and thawed) to salads.
Experts Urge Wider Folic Acid Use
Women of childbearing age have been urged to take folic acid supplements, even if they are not planning a family. Research suggests up to 75 percent of cases of Spina Bifida could be prevented if a woman takes folic acid three months before conception, and during pregnancy.
Experts say folic acid:
- Plays an important role in the synthesis of several types of amino acids.
- Needed for energy production.
- Essential in the formation of red blood cells.
- Important in cell division, replication, and protein synthesis.
- Strengthens immunity.
See also: Folate
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