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Today, the United States has one of the highest rates of women experiencing deficiencies in folic acid. For a growing population of pregnant women, there is a definite link between low levels of folic acid and the development of birth defects such as brain defects, cleft palate, and amniotic fluid. The recommended daily allowance of folic acid for pregnant women is 100 mcg or more. However, the recommended daily intake for most adults is far lower. Here’s how to get more folic acid naturally through your diet.
Folic acid is found naturally in many common foods and beverages, including spinach, green leafy vegetables, cranberries, blackberries, and dark green leafy vegetables. It’s even found in some dried fruits, such as Lima beans, dates, and raisins. But as a powder form, it is not available in most supermarkets. Instead, you can get it by taking a supplement. There are many forms of supplements on the market, so make sure you read the label carefully.
The simplest way to get the amount you need is to eat more greens and fresh veggies. In particular, kale, spinach, turnips, and mustard greens are rich in this important nutrient. You may also want to consider taking a supplement if you are allergic to folic acid or have kidney problems. A high level of this substance may cause these conditions.
Other foods that naturally contain folic acid include blackberries, plums, prunes, cherries, and grapefruits. As with other nutrients, try to eat them raw, rather than cooked. Some manufacturers add a little extra of this substance in order to give you a boost when cooking, but it should still be avoided in most cases. If you must cook with it, make sure you choose only what’s naturally labeled as containing folic acid.
In addition to eating plenty of green and leafy vegetables, you should also add vitamin C supplements to your diet. Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants out there, and it can help boost your immune system and fight off free radicals. If you don’t already have it, stock up on fresh fruits and veggies at the grocery store fruits in small portions. You can also get vitamin C from citrus fruit and fortified orange juice. If you’re not a big fan of fruit, just drink a glass of skim milk each day for a good source of vitamin C.
It’s really that simple to learn how to get more folic acid in your diet. The easiest way is by eating more foods containing this valuable nutrient, which will help boost your immune system. Another option is to take supplemental vitamins, which you can get at your local pharmacy. It might even be helpful to talk to your doctor before you decide on a supplement, as many of them can interact with certain medications.