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National Folic Acid Awareness Week

by Catheter Experts January 17 2014 15:09
The second week of January 2014 focuses on National Folic Acid Awareness in the United States. Folic acid, a member of the B-vitamin family, is a very important vitamin, especially for women who are pregnant or are in the stages of family planning. Folic acid is responsible for a whole host of bodily functions, and it is especially key for cell division and growth. Pregnant women need 400 milligrams of folic acid each day for their own health and that of their baby’s. And anyone can appreciate the added bonus of healthier skin and nails from folic acid intake! But why exactly is folic acid so important during pregnancy?

Folic Acid’s Role During Pregnancy

Folic acid aids in healthy formation of the spinal cord, nervous system, and brain, along with other parts of an infant’s body, and it can protect against birth defects related to the brain and spine. Many of the male catheters, female catheters, and pediatric catheters purchased from us are for those who have been affected by conditions they were born with, such as spina bifida or cauda equine syndrome. Adequate levels of folic acid are also linked to healthier birth weights for babies. Because the first few weeks of pregnancy are crucial to the survival and health of the baby, it is recommended that women consume folic acid before and during their pregnancy. It is estimated that up to seventy percent of all birth defects that affect the brain and spinal cord (neural tube defects) could be prevented by boosting folic acid intake.

How Do I Get More Folic Acid In My Diet?

Luckily, it has never been easier to get your 400 milligrams of folic acid. The easiest and most convenient way to get your daily dose of vitamins is by supplementing with a multi-vitamin that includes folic acid, such as a pre-natal vitamin blend. However, if that is not an option for you, you can get your folic acid levels up with food!

Here are several food groups to consider:

  • Fortified cereals: Many cereals today come fortified with a certain amount of vitamins, including folic acid. Just check the labels to know if your favorite breakfast cereal is fortified. 
  • Lentils: These little legumes pack in a punch of protein and iron, and they are a great source of B vitamins. Plus they’re extremely cheap. We recommend trying lentil soup or swapping lentils for ground beef in tacos. 
  • Liver: Although organ meats don’t always suit everyone’s taste, many love the taste and nutritional value of chicken or cow’s liver. And liver will help you reach your folic acid daily recommendation, along with many other key vitamins such as A & D. 
  • Enriched pasta: Just like cereal, many pastas and breads are enriched with vitamins and have high folic acid counts. 
  • Greens: Spinach, kale, collard greens, and essentially all leafy greens are a super health source of B vitamins. If you don’t already eat your daily greens, this is a great reason to do so!