Chances are at some point you've heard how important folate is if you are planning to get pregnant. That's because when it comes to fertility and a healthy pregnancy, folate is your friend. This goes for women using assisted reproductive technologies, like IVF, and women trying get pregnant without the help of these treatments.
If you are a woman of childbearing age, you definitely want to make sure you're getting enough of it in your diet. Low folate levels can cause hyperhomocysteinemia (fancy for high homocysteine blood levels). High homocysteine is linked to trouble getting and staying pregnant. On the other hand, the right amount of folate reduces the risk of neural tube defects. Fortunately, folate and folic acid are in a lot of different foods.
What's the Difference Between Folate and Folic Acid?
Folic Acid is the manmade version. It's in fortified grain foods like breads, cereal, and pastas. It's also in supplements like multivitamins and prenatal vitamins. Folate, on the other hand, is found naturally in many foods. While you can't get too much folate, it is possible to get too much folic acid (more than 1000 mcg, unless prescribed by your doctor.) Focus on getting this important B vitamin from foods like the ones below.
Five Folate Rich Foods
- Legumes: beans, peas, and lentils of all kind!
- Hass Avocados
Ideas for Adding More Folate to Your Daily Diet
- Add black beans to salads and chickpeas to pasta dishes.
- While you're at it, add some quinoa to that salad too!
- Use spinach in place of iceberg lettuce on sandwiches, burgers, and in wraps.
- Slather your toast with a mashed avocado in place of butter.
- Add cubed or chopped mango to your morning smoothie or oatmeal.
There is no shortage of great tasting folate rich foods to choose from. The five above are just a few of my favorites. Don't see anything you like on the list? No worries. Just check out the USDA's Nutrient Database for a complete list of foods full of folate.