Jan. 6-12 is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of folic acid, a B vitamin that the body uses when regenerating and developing new cells. It is an important nutrient for all people and especially critical for women that can become pregnant.
It is recommended that women of childbearing age receive 400 mcg of folic acid daily. The recommended dosage allows the body better preparation for pregnancy and ensures that there are adequate amounts of folic acid for the baby during the very early stages of growth. Adequate folic acid during the first few weeks of pregnancy helps to prevent major birth defects of the brain and spine.
To reach the recommended amount of folic acid daily, eat folic acid rich foods and foods that have been fortified with folic acid, or take a supplement (either a multivitamin with folic acid or a single folic acid supplement). Some examples of folic acid rich foods are green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, peas, lentils, seeds and nuts. Foods like cereal and bread are fortified with folic acid. The Nutrition Facts Label found on packaged food is a tool that can be used to see how much folic acid a food product contains.
For more information check out the National Council on Folic Acid website.