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Folic Acid Foods: Apt for the 'miracle of birth'

Posted Apr 30 2010 5:32am


In the parent-child relationship, there are times when the topic of sex and childbirth sticks out like a sore thumb, and in countries where liberalized thinking is not necessarily the order of the day, this can make for some extremely amusing conversations along the lines of a classmate in school approaching the biology teacher in front of the entire class and asking her what the word 'co-opulation' meant, with some of us knowledgeable ones trying to hold our laughter.

While some pretentious people might call this churlish behavior, there are some of us who find it normal to get a laugh out of anything and everything instead of acting like stuck ups, really. But really, to each his own. And if you're the types that considers sex to be a holy thing and something that shouldn't be joked about… please get a life, will you?

And speaking of life, the miracle of birth which takes a woman through several waves of emotion is often a road strewn with complications and hazards to both mother and child.

Thankfully, we're not living in the age of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman in the 19th century post-Civil War era as modern day medicine supplements in the form of vitamins can help a woman during a particularly vulnerable period of pregnancy.

Folic Acid

One of the most crucial vitamins in this regard is in the form of folic acid which is also known as Vitamin B9 that is a part of Vitamin B complex group that is considered to be essential for the metabolic processes in the body.

The primary function of Folic acid is to help the body by producing and maintaining new cells as well as DNA and RNA synthesis among other uses. Folic acid exists in the body primarily in the form of derivatives such as tetrahydrofolic acid and others but not in its original state.

Benefits of Folic Acid

1. Pregnancy

Folic acid plays a very important role in upkeep of a woman's level of folate in the body due to an increased maternal Red blood cell synthesis in the first half of the pregnancy as well as in meeting fetal demands during the second half. Folic acid intake also aids in neural tube development during pregnancy and is considered a must for to-be mothers, which can prevent neural tube deficiency  that result in malformations of the spine, skull and brain.

2. Reduce the risk of other diseases such as:

a. Cardiovascular disease

b. Stroke

c. Cancer (although the link between cancer and folic acid appear to be a complex one)

d.  Obesity

e. Depression

f. Schizophrenia

g. Allergic diseases such as atopy, wheeze and asthma.

h. Rheumatoid arthritis

Not only do they play a part in preventing these disease, it is also effective in the treatments of other disorders such as cancer, mental agility and memory, fertility, type 1 diabetes mellitus, bone health, menopause an anemia associated with Vitamin B12 deficiency.

Sources of Folic Acid

According to experts, foods that contain folic acid do not necessarily provide adequate levels of the micronutrient as it is easily destroyed or its value is lessened when cooked or kept in storage for a long time. And so, supplements are the best choice for those who need extra levels of folic acid.

Foods with the highest sources of folates are fruits such as papaya and kiwifruits, vegetables such as parsnips, asparagus, cabbage, spinach, brussel sprouts and broccoli. Meat-based products such as Bovril as well as cooked kidney and liver are excellent choices for folic acid as well.

In Closing

What this only goes to show is that in depending on Mother Nature, one can find all the nutrients necessary to live a long, healthy and happy life on this planet and the more one gravitates towards the synthetic, man-made stuff, things begin to get complicated. And one does not need to illustrate with examples as there are several…

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