Nigerian Foods Rich in Folic Acid and Why Folic Acid is Vital in Pregnancy

Nigerian Foods Rich in Folic Acid and Why Folic Acid is Vital in Pregnancy.

Why do I need folic acid in pregnancy?
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Folic acid or folate is very important for the development of a healthy foetus. It can significantly reduce the chance of neural tube defects (NTDs), such as spina bifida.

Folate is water-soluble, naturally found in many foods, and natural form of vitamin B9.
It is also added to foods and as a supplement in the form of folic acid.

Folate helps to form DNA and RNA and facilitates protein metabolism.

It plays a vital role in breaking down homocysteine, an amino acid that can exert harmful effects in the body if present in high amounts.

Folate is also needed to produce healthy red blood cells and is important to be consumed during periods of rapid growth, such as during pregnancy and fetal development.

How much you should take?

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It’s recommended that all women who could get pregnant should take a daily supplement of 400 micrograms of folic acid before they’re pregnant and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, when the baby’s spine is developing. And throughout the pregnancy.
If you did not take folic acid supplements before getting pregnant, you should start taking them as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.
You can get them from pharmacies, large supermarkets, health food stores, or on prescription from a GP.

When higher doses are needed
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Some women will be advised to take a higher dose of 5 milligrams (5mg) of folic acid each day until they’re 12 weeks pregnant if they have a higher chance of having a pregnancy affected by neural tube defects.
You may have a higher chance if:
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-you or the baby’s biological father have a neural tube defect
-you previously had a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect
-you or the baby’s biological father have a family history of neural tube defects
-you have diabetes
-you’re taking anti-epilepsy medicine
-If any of the above applies to you, talk to a GP/Obstetrician . They can prescribe a higher dose of folic acid.

Dietary sources of folic acid – Nigerian foods that contain folic acid

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Folic acid is found in foods like leafy green vegetables, brown rice, oranges, nuts and seeds, avocados, pawpaw, eggs, legumes, ebelebo, ube pear, asparagus, spinach, water melon, lettuce, lentils, banana, lemons, peas, beans, beets, kidney peas, corn, broccoli, apples 🍎 granary bread, fortified bread, and breakfast cereals fortified with folic acid.

Nigerian Foods Rich in Folic Acid and Why Folic Acid is Vital in Pregnancy.
Nigerian Foods Rich in Folic Acid.

You should try to eat plenty of these foods during your pregnancy, but it would be almost impossible to get enough folic acid just from food.

The only way to be sure you’re getting the right amount is by taking a supplement.

Written by Dr. Anfas Farook

Image Credit: Mekye Baby Shop

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