Folic acid is an essential nutrient that plays a key role in the production of red blood cells, DNA synthesis and cell growth. It is a water-soluble B vitamin that can be found in enriched grains, fortified cereals, vegetables, fruits and legumes. Folate, the natural form of folic acid, may also be found naturally occurring in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli.
Not only does folic acid play an important role in the development of healthy babies during pregnancy but it can also reduce the risk of certain birth defects such as spina bifida and neural tube defects. Additionally, folic acid helps to prevent heart disease by lowering levels of homocysteine which is a compound associated with increased risk for coronary artery disease.
1The following are some great sources of folic acid.
Dark green leafy vegetables
Dark green leafy vegetables are a fantastic source of many essential vitamins and minerals, including folic acid. The most common dark green leafy vegetables that contain folic acid include spinach, kale, collard greens and romaine lettuce. Spinach is especially rich in this vitamin; just one cup provides 65% of your daily value (DV) of folate. Kale is another good choice with 33% DV per cup while collard greens have 18%. Romaine lettuce has 15%.