Inrecent years the National Health and Medical Research Council has put thespotlight on more than 30 vitamins, minerals and nutrients that it considers tobe important for health and wellbeing. Naturopath,herbalist and nutritionist from Sydney’s Nature Care College MichelleAvedissian explains all about folate
Why do you need it: It helps prevent neural tube defects during pregnancy,and is required for normal cell division and a healthy nervous system. Folatealso helps reduce homocysteine levels, an amino acid that’s been linked to anincreased risk of heart disease when levels are high. It’s something that canoccur as a result of age, gender, diet and hereditary factors.
How much: You need 400mcg per day.
Where from: 2 large eggs + ½ cup of cooked asparagus + 75gof rocket + 1 orange + 2 slices of commercially baked bread made with wheatflour = 400mcg of folate.
Consider a supplement if: You’re planning a pregnancy, ifyou often feel stressed, if you consume alcohol regularly or if your diet islacking in green, leafy vegetables – or you don’t like eating them raw.Long-term use of the contraceptive pill can also inhibit folate absorption.
Need to know facts:
- “Folate is easy destroyed by heat,” explainsAvedissian. “So eat folate-rich foods in both their raw and cooked forms.”
- The folic acid used in supplements and to fortifyfoods is absorbed up to twice as well as the folate found naturally in foods.