Choosing a balanced diet during pregnancy is a must, it will help you meet your daily calorie requirements, keep a check on your intake and maintain a healthy body weight. During this phase, pregnant women should consume the right amount of protein, calcium, iron, vitamins, folic acid and more.
Take a look at some of the nutrients which deserve a star position in your pregnancy diet.
Is vital for the normal development of your baby’s brain, skull and spinal cord.
Proteins help pregnant mother’s produce amino acids that are the building blocks of the baby’s body.
Iron is useful in the production of haemoglobin that helps to deliver oxygen and prevent premature delivery.
Calcium helps in the development of the baby’s brain.
Vitamin A helps in the creation of cells that will make up baby’s internal organs
Vitamin C helps in building a healthy immune system.
While every nutrient is important, there are a few that should be consumed on a larger scale. One of them is folic acid.
Why folic acid during pregnancy?
Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps a baby’s neural tube to develop properly which then becomes the brain and spinal cord. On the other hand, folic acid also helps prevent other birth defects, such as a cleft palate, etc. While folic acid plays a vital role, we have listed few myths and truths about this essential nutrient.
Folic acid is not the same as folate.
Pregnant mothers who do not have a history of ‘spina bifida’ do not have to take folic acid.
Most (95%) spina bifida cases happen in families without a history, so it is important to plan ahead and take folic acid regularly.
Women, who are not planning to get pregnant anytime soon, do not need to consume folic acid.
As half of all pregnancies are not planned, it is important to take folic acid every day.
Foods that have folate, like orange juice also have folic acid. So, having a glass of orange juice will provide the required folic acid.
Our bodies absorb a man-made form of folic acid found in vitamins easily. The best way to get the folic acid is by taking a vitamin with it.
Now that you know the myths and the truth associated with ‘Folic acid’, take a look at the top foods that serve as a rich source
1. Dark Leafy Greens
If you are looking for an immediate boost in folic acid, make sure to include spinach, collard greens, kale, turnip greens and romaine lettuce into your daily diet.
Asparagus is rich in folic acid that makes it one of the best sources. Eating asparagus will provide you with Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Manganese and more.
This source of folate is also one of the best detox foods. One cup of broccoli will provide you with approximately 24% of your daily folic acid needs and other nutrients.
Fruits that are rich in citrus, contain a high amount of folic acid. Consider eating papaya, grapefruit, banana, cantaloupe and strawberries in your diet.
How to include them in your diet?
There are a number of ways you could include folic acid in your diet. Some of the popular ways are listed below:
Juice: If you don’t prefer your greens boiled or cooked, put them in a juicer. You can consider having them with your breakfast. It is advised that you consume them fresh.
Salad: Salads too are a healthy and easy way to consume greens rich in folic acid. You can mix different sources of greens and enjoy.
Most fortified cereals supply a whopping 100 to 400 mcg of folic acid in half cup to one and a half cup serving.
Mask it with your favourite dish:
While some of you might not like the taste of these greens, a good way to enjoy them is to add it to your favourite food dishes.
The best way to find out the right amount of folic acid that a women needs to consume varies from person to person. Hence, it is best to ask your experts who can help you with your diet.