Folic acid is a pregnancy superhero! Taking a prenatal vitamin with the recommended 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid before and during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of your baby’s brain and spinal cord.
When Should I Start Taking Folic Acid?
Birth defects occur within the first 3-4 weeks of pregnancy. So it’s important to have folate in your system during those early stages when your baby’s brain and spinal cord are developing.
The best way to guarantee you’re getting enough folate is to take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid, and eat a diet rich in folate-full foods like the following.
#1 Dark leafy greens
For immediate boost of folic acid, add spinach, soy and lettuce to your diet. Just one large plate of these leafy greens will give you your daily requirement of folic acid.
#2 Beans, peas and lentils
Beans and peas are very high in folic acid ratio. This includes pinto beans, lima peas, black eyed peas, green peas and kidney beans. A small bowl of lentils will give you your daily requirement of folic acid.
Avocados offer 90 micrograms of vitamin B9 per cup, which is equivalent to 22% of your daily folic acid requirements. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin A, dietary fibre and vitamin K.
#4 Seeds and nuts
You can munch on all types of seeds, like flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts. You can eat them raw, dried or roasted, whichever way you like. You can also have dried fruits.
They are rich in antioxidants and detoxification elements. One cup of beets can cover 34% of your daily requirement for folic acid.
#6 Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are loaded with folic acid. Oranges, papaya, banana, grapes, strawberries are rich in folic acid content.
#7 Bhindi or okra
Bhindi is great for digestion and eliminates toxic build up in the body. Just a cup of bhendi can offer 37 microrams of folic acid.
Corn is rich in folate and just a cup of boiled corn covers 20% of your daily need of folic acid.
You can snack on this healthy vegetable by eating it raw, baking it or opting for a glass full of carrot juice. One cup of carrot juice fulfils 5 % of your daily folic acid needs.
This cruciferous vegetable is rich in vitamin C and loaded with vitamin B9 too. Add it your salads or cook it for lunch.
Written and compiled by Dr Divya Gaur
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