Importance of Folic Acid

When should I start taking Folic acid?

The body goes through several changes during pregnancy. It needs to be supplemented with important vitamins beforehand, to prepare itself for a healthy pregnancy and baby. An important vitamin that plays a vital role in the early stages of pregnancy is Folic Acid. Now, the important fact to remember about the folic acid is to take it when you start trying to conceive or at least a month before getting pregnant. Because birth defects usually occur within the 1st month of pregnancy, it is important to have sufficient folic acid before conception and during the first trimester.

How does Folic acid help?

The right vitamin regimen of folic acid supplementation shows an 80 percent reduction in neural tube defects- serious birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. Folic acid could also protect your baby against Cleft lip & palate, low birth weight, premature birth, miscarriage and certain heart defects.

Where can I get my daily intake of folic acid?

Many fruits contain folic acid, and citrus fruits rank the highest. Oranges are an especially rich source of folic acid, also grapefruit, grapes, banana, cantaloupe, and strawberries. Dark green vegetables like broccoli, spinach and dried legumes such as chickpeas, beans, and lentils are naturally good sources of folate.

Here’s a list of foods with the amount of folic acid it contains:

  1. Broccoli: A half-cup serving of broccoli provides you with 52 micrograms of folic acid,
  2. Beans: A ½ cup serving of dried soybeans provides 174 micrograms of folic acid and 388 calories.
  3. Nuts and seeds: ¼ cup of sunflower seed contains 82 micrograms of folic acid
  4. Avocado: A single avocado provides 162 micrograms of folic acid,
  5. Banana: A medium-sized banana contains 23.6 of folic acid
  6. Tomato Juice: A 6-ounce serving of tomato juice will help you meet 36 micrograms of folic acid
  7. Chili powder: A teaspoon of this spice contains 2 micrograms of folic acid
  8. Oranges: A medium-sized orange provides the body with 29 micrograms of folic acid. A ¾ cup serving of orange juice contains 35 micrograms of folic acid.
  9. Spinach: A serving of spinach provides 26 micrograms,
  10. Cauliflower: A cup of this cruciferous vegetable will give you 55 micrograms of folic acid

Bear in mind that some folate can be lost during storage or by cooking, and it is difficult to get the recommended amount of folate for pregnancy. And even a healthy diet may not provide you with the required amount of folic acid. That’s why taking 400 mcg (0.4 mg) of folic acid as supplement tablets ensures the daily requirement.

 

Article by

Dr. Suguna

Consultant- Obstetrician, and Gynecologist

Ovum Hospitals