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Healthy Eating & Folic Acid

Folic Acid

Nowhere near as scary as it sounds, folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin responsible for the efficient development of an embryo's neural tube (basically brain and spinal cord) in the womb.

Because the neural tube is formed very early in pregnancy (about a month after conception) women are advised to consume plenty of folic acid prior to conception and until the third month of pregnancy in order to minimise the risk of foetal deformities.

Folic acid is also essential for the formation of red blood cells. The best source of folic acid is green leafy vegetables, and - perhaps for that reason - most people don't eat enough of it! Ideally, you should consume 400mcgs of folic acid daily.

What can folic acid do for me?

  • Ensure the proper neural tube development of a growing embryo
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes, and colorectal cancer (cancer of colon and rectum)

What indicates a deficiency of folic acid?

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Sore, inflamed tongue

Who particularly needs folic acid?

  • Women planning to conceive, or those in the early stages of pregnancy
  • Over-55s

Foods rich in folic acid

Food Serving size Cals Amount GDA (%)
Tomatoes 85g 14 12.5 mcg 3 %
Oranges 160g 59 48 mcg 12 %
Lentils 40g 40 72 mcg 18 %
Asparagus 100g 22 149 mcg 37 %
Wholemeal bread 50g 108 59 mcg 15 %
Strawberries 100g 27 24 mcg 6 %
Papaya fruit 100g 38 38 mcg 10 %

You are advised to seek medical advice before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle with an aim of weight loss. This website and the content provided should not be used by persons under 18, by pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with any type of health condition, except under the direct supervision of a qualified medical professional. The information contained in these articles, and elsewhere on this website, is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only, and is not intended to replace, and does not constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis and may not be used for such purposes. Continue...

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