Get extra folate by eating well!
The body has a hard time absorbing all of the folate it needs from food, alone. Our bodies only absorb 50% of the folate we get from the foods we eat. (Folate is the kind of folic acid in foods.) We absorb:
- 100% of the folic acid in a multi-vitamin
- 85% of the folic acid in “enriched” or “fortified” bread, grains & cereals
- 50% of the folate in foods
That’s why health authorities recommend that all women who can become pregnant take a daily multi-vitamin with 400 mcg of folic acid. However, a healthy diet is still important! The following foods have a lot of folate:
- Leafy greens
- Beans & lentils
- Peanuts and sunflower seeds
- Orange juice
- Strawberries and mangos
Check the label!
When buying processed food, check the nutrition label to see how much folic acid that particular food has! Look for the words folate or folic acid.
What if I don’t like taking pills?
It’s still easy to get enough folic acid. Just eat a bowl of cereal with 400 mcg of folic acid every morning (two bowls if you’re thinking of getting pregnant). Click here for an info-graphic with cereals that contain 100% of the RDA for folic acid.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, September 2012, Folic Acid Information Page. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/index.html
Vegetables can loose up to 70% of their folate depending upon how they are cooked. When cooking folate-rich vegetables, preserve more of their folate content by lightly steaming or microwaving. Unless using folate-rich vegetables in foods, avoid boiling (lots of folate will end up in the cooking water). Also, avoid roasting vegetables at high temperatures.
- Savory and Soulful Recipes (English)
- Easy and Healthy Snacks (English)
- Recetas! Ácido Fólico Ahora!
- Go Folic! Recipes (Chinese)