Folate: For a Healthy You, For a Healthy Baby

November 2, 2011

Are you planning to have a baby? Do you think you will ever have a baby? You need to know about the vitamin folate.

Are you planning to have a baby?  Do you think you will ever have a baby?  You need to know about the vitamin folate.

Even if you are not planning to have a baby, YOU STILL NEED TO KNOW about Folate.

  • What Is Folate?

Folate is a B vitamin. It is also called folic acid or folacin. Folate helps your body form red blood cells. It also helps a baby's spine and brain develop before it is born.

 

  • Why Is Folate Important?

You need folate in your body BEFORE YOU GET PREGNANT and especially in the first months of pregnancy. This greatly reduces your chance of having a baby with a birth defect of the brain or spine. Folate also reduces your risk of developing heart disease, and possibly certain forms of cancer.

 

  • How Do You Get Folate?

Eat folate-rich foods and take a multivitamin daily.

Choose a variety of foods including plenty of whole grains and cereals, and at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Heat reduces the amount of folate in foods so avoid overcooking. Fresh is best!

Because it is so difficult to consume enough of the folate-rich foods every day, you should also take a daily multivitamin that contains folate. Take the recommended amount only. As with any vitamin, it is not good to take too much. The recommended amount of folate in a vitamin is 400 micrograms (mcg).

 

  • Who Needs Folate?

Both men and women need folate. However, folate is most important for women who are planning to have a baby, or think they may ever have a baby.

You body needs folate before you become pregnant. A baby's spine and brain develop in the first weeks of pregnancy, before most women know they are pregnant.

 

  • How Much?

Women need at least 400 micrograms of folate every day. If you are pregnant, or if you've had a baby with a birth defect, ask your doctor about the right amount of folate for you.

AsparagusLiver
Breakfast cerealsMustard greens
Brewers yeastOrange juice
GarbanzosSpinach
Dried beansStrawberries
LentilsSunflower seeds
ArtichokeOkra
AvocadoOrange
BeetsPapaya
BroccoliPeanuts
Brussel sproutsRaspberries
CanataloupeSalad greens
CauliflowerSplit peas
CornWheat germ

And Take a Multivitamin With Folate.

Check the label to see that it contains at least 400 micrograms of folate, folic acid, or folacin. The label may say 0.4 milligrams (mg) of folate. This is the same as 400 micrograms (mcg).