Don’t just supplement your folic acid, increase it in your diet as well!
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Folic acid is a water soluble vitamin that is absolutely essential to the early development of your baby.  Deficiency greatly increases the risk for congenital abnormalities, such as neural tube defects (abnormalities of the nervous system), a cleft palate, and more. Don’t forget that you need it, too! Many activities of normal life, such as enjoying an alcoholic beverage or taking an aspirin, can decrease your folic acid stores. Without this busy little vitamin, your cells would be unable to synthesize and maintain your DNA.

To properly plan for pregnancy (especially the first month), I recommend women take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily for 3 months prior to removing birth control. This is in addition to a high quality prenatal multivitamin that already offers at least 400-600 micrograms of folic acid, therefore giving you a total of at least 800 micrograms a day. Combined with the dietary suggestions below, this will replenish your folic acid stores and promote health in your unborn child.

Foods High in Folic Acid

Beef Liver
Please buy organic. Beef liver is also an exceptional source for iron, which can help to prevent anemia and fatigue during pregnancy. Speak with your doctor about how much liver is safe for you, as it also contains high levels of vitamin A and should be eaten in moderation for its rich nutrients.
Spinach
Like liver, spinach is also a great source for iron, as well as vitamins A and C.
Black-eyed peas
Rich in fiber and calcium, too!
Asparagus
A low calorie, vitamin and mineral rich source of fiber.
Avocado
These fruits pack a nutritious punch, thanks to their abundant good fats and fiber, you will feel full and satisfied.
Citrus Fruits
Aim for eating the whole fruit, not just the juice.
Brussel Sprouts  & Broccoli
Both of these green giants provide up to a quarter of the recommended daily intake for an average, healthy adult.
Nuts & Seeds
Sunflower seeds, flax and almonds are all high in folic acid, good fats, and fiber!

 

 

For additional information on folic acid, please visit the National Institutes of Health at: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/

Dr. Kaley Bourgeois