Folic acid plays a key role in pregnancy. This B vitamin occurs naturally in leafy green vegetables, pulses, whole grains, oranges, and beef. It is also available in supplement form. When used as part of a healthy diet, it helps prevent neural tube defects, birth defects, and cardiovascular problems in the fetus.
Any woman who is pregnant or trying to conceive should consume at least 400 milligrams of folic acid daily. The dose should be increased to 600 milligrams a day starting with the second trimester. Breastfeeding women need about 500 milligrams per day.
Future moms can get more folic acid in their through food or supplements. Prenatal vitamins are highly recommended. The following foods are rich in folic acid and support a healthy pregnancy:
One serving (3 oz) of beef liver provides 215 milligrams of folic acid. It also contains large amounts of protein, amino acids, and minerals. A single slice delivers over 40 percent of the recommended daily intake of protein and 2,000 percent of the recommended allowance of vitamin B12. These nutrients play a key role in metabolism, immune and thyroid function, cellular repair, and cell growth.
One cup of spinach supplies 263 milligrams of folic acid, 987 percent of the RDA of vitamin K, 105 percent of the RDA of vitamin A, and 84 percent of the RDA of manganese. It’s also an excellent source of iron, magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, and protein. This superfood protects the baby from birth defects, prevents anemia, and lowers the risk of premature labor.
This delicious veggie delivers 65 percent (262 mg) of the recommended daily intake of folic acid. Eating just one cup can help prevent folic acid deficiency. Rich in vitamins, asparagus supports proper developmental of the fetus, increases fertility, and helps flush out toxins. Due to its high fiber content, it aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar.
Just one cup of broccoli contains over 24 percent of the recommended daily allowance of folic acid. High in iron, this cruciferous veggie prevents anemia and supports the formation of red blood cells. It’s also a good source of calcium, which strengthens the bones and joints. The beta carotene in broccoli ensures good eye health and boosts immunity. Future moms who eat broccoli regularly are less likely to develop breast cancer, gestational diabetes, insulin resistance, and cataracts.
Other sources of folic acid include oranges, papaya, grapefruit, turnip greens, collard greens, and lettuce. These foods are safe for pregnant women, offering a cocktail of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and macronutrients.