It’s National Folic Acid Awareness Week, and folic acid is a B vitamin that helps cells grow. Getting enough of it can help prevent birth defects.
Getting 400 mcg of folic acid a day can help prevent up to 70% of serious birth defects of the brain and spine, like anencephaly and spina bifida.
Even if you’re not planning on getting pregnant, women should be getting enough folic acid. It helps your body make new, healthy cells every day, like for your hair, skin, and nails.
Birth defects of the brain and spine happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy, and half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. Getting enough folic acid can help protect your baby even before you know you’re pregnant.
One of the easiest ways to get enough folic acid is to take a daily multivitamin with folic acid. You can also eat foods like enriched breads, pastas, and cereals that have added folic acid.
Once you know you’re pregnant, pay careful attention to if you’re getting enough folic acid in your diet. Knowing how to read food labels can help you check for folic acid.
You can also eat a diet rich in folate to help get enough folic acid. Foods like beans, lentils, citrus, and dark leafy greens have high amounts of it.
Check out the recipes high in folic acid we also shared this week!