Know Your Nutrients – Folate – Green Scene
Why a daily dose of this powerful nutrient is important for women at every age.
I’m a naturalist at heart
I’m often mistaken for folic acid, but I’m actually the natural B vitamin found in many vegetables. Folic acid is the synthetic form of me used in fortified foods like bread. Our benefits are similar, though some say the body metabolizes folic acid more efficiently than it does me.
I gained notoriety as the essential nutrient for women of childbearing age. Now researchers are looking into my ability to minimize issues linked to menopause. The research is ongoing, but I’m hoping the data will confirm that I’m simply irresistible – at any stage of life.
Get fresh with me
I don’t play hard to get. In fact, I’m found in many foods you eat every day. Good fresh sources of me are spinach, green beans, broccoli and peas. If it’s folic acid you’re after, eat cereals, pastas and breads. Just look for the words “fortified with folic acid” on the label.
Not getting enough?
One way to know that you may not be getting enough of me in your diet: You’re exhausted! Folate deficiency may cause anemia, a shortage of red blood cells, which can leave you feeling sluggish. Ask your doctor about a serum folate level test, which is used to help diagnose this condition.
My few frenemies
Certain drugs can make it more difficult for your body to absorb me. If you take oral contraceptives, antacids or some diabetes medications, you may need to increase your intake of me or folic acid to get an adequate amount.
Vitamin B Bites
Experts recommend a minimum of 400 mcg folate a day. Here are some of our favorite natural sources.
- Blackeyed peas, ½ c cooked – Folate Count – 105 mcg
- Asparagus, boiled, 4 spears – Folate Count – 85 mcg
- Spinach, raw, 1c – Folate Count – 60 mcg
- Broccoli, chopped, frozen, cooked, ½ c – Folate Count – 50 mcg
- Avocado, raw, sliced ½ c – Folate Count – 45 mcg