Why folate is so important for babies

Folate is not exclusive to women nor to expecting moms. Our body needs it especially during its rapid growth and development when in pregnancy, at infancy, and at adolescence. However, more often than not, we forget to include it in our daily diet. Let’s get down to the brass tracks why we need to rev up our diet with folate.

WHAT IS FOLATE?

Also known as vitamin B-9, folate is very much present in most veggies, eggs, legumes, and fruit.

Our body needs folate because it’s responsible for the production of red and white blood cells in our bone marrow. Without it, we’d be lethargic, for it converts carbohydrates into energy. We need it to produce DNA, our genetic makeup and RNA, the key ingredient for our body’s metabolic processes and protein synthesis.  

We can refer here for the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of folate.

Folate is its natural form, whereas folic acid is its synthetic form. In any form you take it, you still get its full benefits if woven well with our daily diet.

WHY WE NEED IT

Increase of folate intake is essential for expecting moms. But this nutrient is just as crucial to have in our daily diet. Here’s why.

LESSENS RISK OF CONGENITAL DEFORMITIES

Expecting moms want nothing else than to deliver a healthy baby. Because folate plays an important role in our DNA, pregnant moms need to have more of it in their system. Expecting dads also contribute his folate intake during his wife's pregnancy. A father’s folate status before conception of his child is just as crucial as the mother’s according to a study published by McGill University.

KEEPS A HEALTHY HEART

Folate, is a nutrient that gives our heart the needed TLC. It keeps the levels of homocysteine in check. Homoscysteine is a kind of amino acid that is used to make protein together with the help of vitamins B6 and B12. With the help of those B vitamins, homocysteine is broken down to the substances our body needs. High levels of homocysteine in our blood is an indication of vitamin deficiency, heart disease, or an inherited disorder. If we take our B vitamins diligently, together with folate, we’d have a lower risk of getting a stroke.

MAY HELP DECREASE CANCER RISK

According to a study presented by Medical News Today, low levels of folate intake are associated with a higher risk of developing breast cancer among women. In another study, folate can help protect the body against esophageal cancer and lower the risk of getting colorectal cancer.

HOW TO MAKE SURE YOU GET ENOUGH OF IT

Having more conscious effort in what we put in our mouth can go a long way for our overall health. The good thing about folate is that it’s present in most foods we see in the market and grocery store. So the next time you do grocery shopping, hit the veggies and fruit section and grab some leafy greens, beets, broccoli, papaya, bananas, avocado, oranges, lemons and limes, and grapefruit. Next, move to the dairy section for some eggs. Finally, to the butcher section and dry goods for some good ol’ liver, nuts, and seeds, respectively.

 

 

Taking spirulina tablets will also give you the folate your body needs. Each tablet is a powerhouse of calcium, magnesium, potassium, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamins B6, A, and K.

Spirulina is a concentrated source of protein, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that are needed to sustain a healthy lifestyle. It is the most abundant source of chlorophyll. Regular intake of spirulina detoxifies and oxygenates the blood – which makes it difficult for cancer cells to thrive. Because of this, spirulina is popular among naturopaths treating cancer patients. To learn more about this amazing superfood, click here.

 

References:

Folate (folic acid). (2020, November 14). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-folate/art-20364625 

Folate (Folic Acid) – Vitamin B9. (2019, July 2). The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/folic-acid/ 

Folic acid | Womenshealth.gov. (2019, April 1). Womenshealth.Gov. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/folic-acid 

Link, M. R. S. (2020, February 27). 15 Healthy Foods That Are High in Folate (Folic Acid). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-high-in-folate-folic-acid#2.-Asparagus 

The Benefits of Folic Acid for Women on MedicineNet.com. (2014, December 1). MedicineNet. https://www.medicinenet.com/folic_acid_the_benefits_for_women/views.htm 

Ware, M. R. (2018, June 26). Why is folate good for you? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287677#recommended-intake