FCS8632 1. This document is FCS 8632, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sc iences, Florida Cooperative Exten sion Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publi cation date: March 2001. Revised: October 200 7. Please visit the EDIS Web site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu 2. Linda B. Bobroff, PhD, RD, LD/N, Professo r, Department of Family, Youth and Comm unity Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Univer sity of Florida, Gainesville, 32611. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Eq ual Employment Opportunity-Affirm ative Action Employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and in stitutions that function without regard to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, marita l status, national origin, political opinions, or affiliation. For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service/I nstitute of Food and Agricultural Sciences/University of Florida/Larry R. Arrington, Dean. Facts about Folate1 Linda B. Bobroff2 Why do we need folate? Folate is one of the B vitamins. The synthetic form of this vitamin is folic acid. Folate helps make DNA and amino acids. DNA is the genetic material found in all cells of the body. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Everyone needs folate. Its especially important for women who can become pregnant. Pregnant and nursi ng women, growing children, and elders also need plenty of folate. What happens if we dont get enough folate? Without folate your body cant make DNA and amino acids. This is a concern for pregnant women and children. Eating highfolate foods may reduce your chances of developing anemia, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Getting enough folate before becoming pregnant reduces a womans risk of having a baby with certain birth defects. How much folate do we need? The following table lists recommended daily intakes of folate: Life Stage Folate (g/day) Men, ages 19+ 400 Women, ages 19+ 400 Pregnancy 600 Lactation 500 g = micrograms How can we get enough folate? To get 400 g of folate, you can eat foods that are naturally high in folate. Some of the best food sources are green leafy vegetables, like spinach, collards, and kale.
Facts about Folate Page 2 October 2007 Other foods that are high in folate are orange juice, legumes (beans and lentils), and peanuts. You can also eat foods that are fortified with folic acid. Getting enough folate is easy if you eat fortified grain foods. Check food labels to see if folic acid has been added. Here is a sample ingredient list from a food label: Ingredients: Apples, Enriched Wheat Flour (Contains Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, and Folic Acid), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Water, Sugar, Food Starch-Modified, Salt, Cinnamon, Cornstarch Here are some foods and the amount of folate they contain: FOOD FOLATE ( g/serving ) Fortified cereal, 1 serving 100-400 Spinach, frozen, cup cooked 100 Peanuts, dry roasted cup 80 Romaine, 1 cup shredded 75 Kidney beans, cup cooked 60 Orange juice, cup 55 Orange, 1 medium 45 g = micrograms How should foods be prepared to keep the folate content? When cooking foods that contain folate, use as little water as you can. Avoid overcooking. Steaming or cooking in a microwave works well for most foods. What about supplements? If you dont get enough folate from foods, you can take a multivit amin that contains folic acid. A folic acid supplement is recommended for some people with a special n eed for folate. This includes women who can become pregnant. Where can I get more information? The Family and Consumer Sciences agent at your local Extension office may have written information and nutrition classes for you to attend. Your doctor or a registered dietitian (RD) can provide reliable information to you. Reliable nutrition information may be found on the Internet at the following sites: http://nutrition.gov http://seniors.gov