It’s a new year, full of fresh starts, endless
potential, and healthy routines. One great way to kick off the year is to
examine your diet to ensure you’re getting the nutrients needed to support
National Folic Acid Awareness Week takes place
every January. This year it is the week of January 5 – the perfect time to
evaluate if you’re getting enough of this crucial micronutrient.
Folate vs. Folic Acid
First, it is important to know the difference between folate and folic acid. Folate, or vitamin B9, is necessary for the
formation of red blood cells and for maintaining overall cellular health.
Folate is a nutrient found in natural food sources such as spinach, green
beans, bell peppers, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables mentioned
Folic acid is the synthetic version of the
compound, which is considered more bioavailable than natural sources of folate.
Experts recommend that adults get at least 400
micrograms (mcg) of folate per day, and women who are pregnant or nursing need
roughly 500 mcg. To ensure adequate folate intake, it’s important to know why
your body needs this nutrient, which foods contain folate naturally, and which
folic acid supplements can help you bridge the gap.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll refer
to the folic acid found in dietary supplements.
Research shows that folic acid is crucial for
supporting heart health. Ensuring adequate levels of folic acid intake may also
decrease your risk of a cardiac event. Folate may also enhance brain function, helping you ward off mental
decline, and mood instability.
Folic Acid in Pregnancy
You may have heard about the importance of folic acid during pregnancy. Folic acid is a crucial nutrient for women in their
reproductive years and is used to help the body increase blood production
Doctors recommend that all women their
reproductive years take folic to support a healthy pregnancy. However, men can also benefit from taking folate acid
Natural Sources of Folate
Looking to add more natural folate to your
diet? Toss these foods into your cart on your next shopping trip.
Foods like beans and lentils contain a high percentage
of your daily recommended dose of folate. For example, a cup of cooked kidney
beans has 33% of your Recommended Daily Intake (RDI), while one cup of cooked
lentils contains 90%.
This tender, spring vegetable is not only delicious
but packed with folate. In fact, a half-cup of cooked asparagus contains about
33% of your RDI.
Fruit: Juicy, sweet, and full of flavor, fruits like
oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes are more than a great snack. One large
orange contains contains roughly 14% RDI of folate.
and Brussels Sprouts: Both members of the cruciferous
vegetable family, these leafy green veggies are packed with vital nutrients,
including folate! A half-cup of cooked broccoli contains 21% of your RDI.
Folic Acid Supplements to Fill in the
It’s not always easy, or even feasible to pack
all of the foods we discussed above into your daily diet. Here are some
quality, trusted supplements to help you ensure adequate intake of the
synthetic form of folate, known as folic acid.
Acid from Pure Encapsulations: Vitamins B12 and folic
acid are interrelated, which is why B12 Folic Acid from Pure
Encapsulations contains 800 mcg B12 folic acid provided as
methylcobalamin, a highly bioavailable form of folic acid.
Acid by Solaray: Folic Acid from Solaray
provides 800 mcg of folic acid in an easy-to-swallow, vegetarian capsule. Just
one daily dose can help you ensure you’re getting enough folic acid in your daily
Acid from Douglas Laboratories: Every batch of Folic Acid from Douglas
Laboratories contains 400 mcg of folic acid and is manufactured
without the use of most common food allergens, including milk/dairy, wheat, and
Does your diet contain enough food-sourced
folate? What supplements do you use to ensure you’re getting enough of this essential
micronutrient in its synthetic form as folic acid? Share your favorite foods
and supplements with us in the comments section below.