Foods rich in folic acid such as spinach, beans and lentils are recommended for pregnant women as well as for those who want to get to pregnant. Thi is because this vitamin helps in formation of the baby’s nervous system, preventing diseases such as anencephaly, spina bifida and meningocele.
Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, is essential for everyone’s health. The deficiency of this vitamin can cause serious disorders to a pregnant woman and her baby. Therefore, to avoid such conditions it is ideal to increase the consumption of foods rich in folic acid and also take supplements at least once a month before getting pregnant to ensure it is available at any stage of life.
List of foods rich in folic acid
The following table shows examples of some foods rich in this vitamin:
|Food||Weight||Amount of folic acid|
|Beer yeast||16 g||626 mcg|
|Lentils||99 g||179 mcg|
|Boiled okra||92 g||134 mcg|
|Baked black bean||86 g||128 mcg|
|Cooked spinach||95 g||103 mcg|
|Baked green soy||90 g||100 mcg|
|Baked noodles||140 g||98 mcg|
|Peanut||72 g||90 mcg|
|Cooked broccoli||1 g||78 mcg|
|Natural orange juice||1 g||75 mcg|
|Beet||85 g||68 mcg|
|White rice||79 g||48 mcg|
|Boiled egg||1 unit||20 mcg|
There are foods which contain folic acid such as oats, rice and wheat flour, and they can be used in various recipes. According to WHO every 100g of a product must provide a minimum amount of 150mcg of folic acid.
The recommendation of folic acid for pregnant women according to the World Health Organisation is 4000mcg per day.
Consequences of the lack of folic acid
The deficiency of folic acid is related to health problems such as hypersensitive pregnancy syndrome, placental detachment, recurrent miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, chronic cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, dementia and depression.
However, supplementation and healthy eating reduces these risks hence increasing the chances of having a healthy pregnancy and good development of the baby, thus preventing 70% of cases of neural tube malformation.
Blood folic acid reference values
Folic acid testing is rarely done during pregnancy but the reference values of folic acid in the blood range between 55 and 1,100mg/ml, according to the laboratory.
If the values are below 55mg/ml the individual may be having megaloblastic or haemolytic anaemia, malnutrition, alcoholic hepatitis, hyperthyroidism, vitamin C deficiency, cancer, fever, or else in the case of women, this may be a sign of pregnancy.