If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, folic acid is important to help prevent certain birth defects. But did you know that even if you are not trying to get pregnant, folic acid is still good for your body?
Folic acid is a B vitamin that promotes cell growth. Your skin, hair and nails make new cells every day. Folic acid also plays an important role in helping red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to all parts of your body. Some studies even show that folic acid may help protect you from heart disease.
Folic acid can be found in its natural form (called folate) in spinach, black beans, peanuts and orange juice. But it is really hard to get the amount you need from food.
The manufactured or synthetic form of folate is called folic acid. There are many synthetic forms of folic acid: fortified grains, pastas and breakfast cereals. “Fortified” means that folic acid has been added to the food. However, the easiest way to get your recommended folic acid dose, is to take a multivitamin containing at least 400 mcg of folic acid per serving (or 600 mcg if you are pregnant) every day.
As this week is National Folic Acid Awareness Week, it is a good time to check your diet and vitamin pills to be sure that you are getting the recommended amount of folic acid.
If you are like me, and don’t like swallowing pills, you can find a variety of chewable and gummy multivitamins at your local grocery, pharmacy or discount store to suit your tastes and needs. Just be sure to read the labels – some serving sizes, particularly the gummy vitamins, require you to take two tablets to meet your daily recommended dose.
So even if you are not planning on becoming pregnant anytime soon, with so many benefits, you have all the reason you need to start getting your daily recommended folic acid fix.