Folic acid, vitamin B9 for the body
Folic acid, also known as Vitamin B9, is a very important substance for the body, because it is essential for the synthesis of DNA and proteins and for the formation of hemoglobin.
The balanced presence of folic acid in the body in fact, it ensures good growth, protects against cardiovascular disease and helps prevent birth defects in the fetus for pregnant women.
Its history is in the name: folic derives from the Latin "folium", which indicates green and large leafy vegetables, such as spinach, herbs, beets, black cabbage, which are rich in it. But they are not the only foods that are rich in it, let's discover others together.
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Foods that contain folic acid
Other foods also contain it, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, artichokes, lettuce salad; it is also contained in legumes - peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils -, in whole grains (wholemeal pasta and rice), in fruit - lemon, melon, kiwi, strawberry, oranges, avocado, dried fruit - and in brewer's yeast. The liver and eggs contain it equally.
As communicated by the Ministry of Health, there are also "fortified foods", that is, added with folic acid, such as breakfast cereals, biscuits, rusks, snacks and fruit bars or juices.
To facilitate the absorption of folic acid, it is advisable to soak the vegetables for a few minutes in water and fresh lemon juice for a few minutes before cooking them.
How to cook foods with folic acid
You also need to pay attention to how these foods are prepared and eaten: in fact, the cooking process destroys part of the folate present in food, ie the classic cooking in water also eliminates more than 50% of the folic acid present in food.
The preferable choice is to consume as much food as possible fresh, raw or steamed. Alternatively, the other type of cooking that does not disperse these precious substances is vacuum-packed.
Finally, consider the marinating with fresh lemon juice another healthy and possible way to present vegetables on the table.
The correct amount of folic acid, again according to ministerial directives and on average, for a person of healthy constitution, it would go from 0,4 to a maximum of 1 mg of folic acid per day. However, these parameters are only indicative: each person has their own and personal, correct amount of folic acid that they should take daily.
What does a folic acid deficiency entail?
Folic acid deficiency in the early stages of pregnancy can significantly increase the risk of malformations of the fetus; it can also cause intrauterine growth retardation, premature birth or lesions in the placenta.
In adults, a shortage of folic acid can causemegaloblastic anemia. The first symptoms of its deficiency are feelings of fatigue, depression, decreased immune defenses. It is also important to combine folic acid with Vitamin B12, as they both act in the breakdown and utilization of proteins.
The two vitamins are closely relatedVitamin B12 deficiency can cause folic acid deficiency, and deficiency of either vitamin can cause anemia.
Sources for further information: Folic acid and folate, Ministry of Health.