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Vitamin series – part 3 of 9: Folic acid
“Folic acid is an important vitamin.” But why is that so? What function does folic acid have and which foods are rich in folic acid? Learn more in the 3rd edition of our vitamin series!
I am folic acid.
I’m a vitamin, despite the fact that my name doesn’t sound like it. I am a member of the vitamin B group and am also known as vitamin B9 (formerly also: vitamin B11).
I belong to the family of folates and can be generated by plants, mould, and certain bacteria, but not by animals or humans.
When foods are fortified, it is with folic acid that has been synthesized. In other nations, folic acid may be added to flour or cereals.
Effect in the body
I am critical to your survival. This is due to my function in the synthesis of genetic material (DNA), i.e. cell division and cell proliferation. Because the cells in the bone marrow that make blood divide frequently, a steady supply of folic acid is essential. Folic acid is also required for the neurological system and amino acid metabolism.
Pregnant women and breastfeeding moms should pay special attention to ensuring a sufficient supply of folates/folic acid, since a deficiency might result in abnormalities in the infant. The quantity provided, for example, through dietary supplements, should be addressed with the gynecologist, since there are also suggested maximum levels.
What foods contain me?
Your body can’t create me; it needs to take me in through food. It can, however, store me such that its demands are met for several months.
My name contains the Latin word “folium,” which translates to “leaf.” And, fact, I am awash with green-leaved veggies like lettuce and spinach.
But I’m not only found in plant meals; I’m also found in animal foods.
- Whole grains and legumes
- Potatoes and tomatoes
- Fruits such as oranges, raspberries, and strawberries
- Wheat germ and soybeans have particularly high quantities of folates
- Liver and eggs
If you consume five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, you should receive enough folic acid.
Attention … I am sensitive
Folates are heat, light, and oxygen sensitive. Furthermore, they are water-soluble, as are all B vitamins.
Food should be cooked gently, i.e. only briefly, at medium heat, and with minimal water, to avoid damaging them while cooking.
In the graphic you can see why I am important for you. And so you can test which foods contain me.
Your folic acid