Folate and Folic Acid

Happy Folic Acid Awareness Week!

I’m guessing you never knew there was such a holiday but there is! In honor of said holiday, I’m going to tell you all about folic acid!

I can just taste your excitement.


What is folic acid?

Folic acid is a term that specifically refers to the synthetic form of the vitamin folate. It is unusual in that it is more bioavailable (usable by the body) than natural folate!

What is folate?

Folate is a B vitamin that functions in the synthesis of DNA. It works closely with vitamin B-12 in the synthesis of new cells and transmission of inherited characteristics. It is also involved in homocysteine metabolism – high levels of homocysteine are related to the early development of heart and blood vessel disease.

Why is folate good for you?

  • Helps to support red blood cell production and prevent anemia
  • Helps prevent homocysteine build-up in your blood
  • Suports cell production, especially in your skin
  • Allows nerves to function properly
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis-related bone fractures
  • Helps prevent dementia including Alzheimer’s disease
  • Helps encourage a healthy pregnancy

What are some folate rich foods?

The word folate derives from the Latin word for leaf (folium) because dark green, leafy vegetables are some of the best sources of folate. Because enriched grains contain folic acid, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are good sources as well – I won’t include them here but check your labels!

Food micrograms
½ cup cooked lentils 179
½ cup asparagus 131
½ cup cooked spinach 131
½ cup black beans 128
1 cup romaine lettuce 76
RDA for adults 400

Did you notice black beans in there? I did!

What’s your favorite folate food?
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