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Need For Folate In Women
  • Arati Shah

  • 20, May. 2020

Need For Folate In Women

Planning a pregnancy in the near future? A healthy pregnancy depends on good nutrition, sufficient rest, and exercise. The nutrients, both macronutrients and the micronutrients are essential for a healthy pregnancy outcome. However, there is one B vitamin, folate that holds special importance even before conception. A pregnancy nutritionist under a prenatal nutrition program can help a woman get sufficient folate in her diet. A folic acid supplement during this period is equally important. Folate is found naturally in foods while folic acid is the man made form.  

Why do women need folate? 

  1. Folate is essential for the growth of the nervous system and to prevent the neural tube defects in infants. A common birth defect in babies because of folate deficiency is spina bifida which appears in the very initial weeks of pregnancy i.e. in the first trimester.  

  1. Folate deficiency can also lead to anemia as folate helps the red blood cells form and grow. 

Hence, all women, even those on a weight loss program for women, in their child bearing years should get sufficient folate from food. In addition to consuming food with folate from the diet, also take a folic acid supplement under the guidance of a physician or a qualified nutritionist. It is a vitamin that is not stored in the body so a daily dose and intake of foods is essential. 

How does one get folate? 

Certain foods that we eat provide with folate in our diet  

  • Vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, beets, asparagusand green leafy vegetables like spinach 
  • Fruits: Cantaloupes, oranges, bananas, etc 
  • Legumes:Lentils, soya beans, chickpeas, red kidney beans, dried beans, etc 

Besides these, nuts and seeds, whole grains, poultry and meat provide the body with folate. 

Now, folic acid requirements increase in certain conditions: 

  • In pregnancy 
  • During breast feeding 
  • Women with a history of neural tube defects 
  • Women on dialysis for kidney disease 
  • Those having type 2 diabetes 
  • Women having IBS or celiac disease, etc.  

Also, one can never get an excess of folate as it is a B vitamin that is not stored in the body. To get sufficient folate ensure that at least one item out of mentioned list of foods needs to be included in each meal. Normally women need around 400 mcgs of folate daily. And the requirements increase in conditions mentioned above and in women who are over weight or obese. So, if you are one looking to planning a pregnancy in the near future ensure you visit a nutritionist for women who can help you not only plan a diet rich in folate but also suggest supplemental folic acid.