We've returned with more micronutrient fun, and today's micronutrient is...folate!
What Is It? Folate is a type of B vitamin. It can also be called vitamin B9 or folacin. Folate is the naturally-occurring form of this vitamin, while folic acid is the synthetic form found in supplements and fortified foods. Both carry out the same tasks in the body.
What Does It Do? Folate is vital for cell division, along with making DNA. Folic acid has been shown to help prevent neural tube defects during pregnancy (source).
How Much Do I Need? Most adults need roughly 400 mcg of dietary folate equivalents (DFE) per day. Pregnant and breastfeeding people need between 500 and 600 DFEs each day.
There is more detailed information in this handy chart!
What Foods Are Rich in this Micronutrient? Leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits (like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits), and beans are all great sources of folate.
However, it can be difficult to consume enough folate for pregnancy and breastfeeding through food alone, and the CDC recommends supplementation with folic acid during this phase of life (source).
Many foods are fortified with folic acid as well, including cereals, rice, bread, and pasta.
And that's an introduction to the amazing micronutrient, folate. Here's a printable handout that you can download today!
If you'd like to catch up on the rest of the series so far, don't miss these handy links:
And stay tuned for our next micronutrient post: All About Iodine!
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.