I have been reading “It Starts with the Egg” and currently on the chapter on supplements. I had no idea that it was not until the early 1990’s that medical professionals were recommending folic acid supplement for all women prior to and during early pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in the developing embryo. That’s only 30 years ago! Either way, nowadays, most women trying to conceive are taking a prenatal vitamin that has at minimum 400ug folic acid.
Then the book starts to talk about genetic variation in people for folic acid metabolism. If you have a certain genetic variant of the MTHFR gene, you have trouble converting the vitamin folic acid to the active form needed in the body called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate. I had done the Ancestry DNA and downloaded that raw data, inputting it into Dr. Rhonda Patrick‘s website Found My Fitness and it spit out a report. So when the author Rebecca Fett mentioned take your raw data and enter it into Genetic Genie, I was on it! Of course, it’s not very user friendly, and actually difficult to interpret. So I think I prefer Dr. Patrick’s report. But I’m heterozygous for the gene, suggesting I have normal folate metabolism.
But this idea of the vitamin not being as good as folate in food, I started looking up the different levels of folate in food. If you each enriched pasta or cereals, then you are pretty much golden. But if you are trying to limit your processed foods, you may want to dive into the list and start adding some of these into your diet.
I compiled a few of the things I eat and a few I may start incorporating more of. This is not a complete or extensive list, because I excluded things I don’t like, like okra.
Foods with Folate
Avocado 1/2 = 82ug
Mango 1 cup = 71ug
Orange 1 large = 55ug
Papaya 1 cup = 53ug
Strawberries 1 cup = 36ug
Raspberries 1 cup = 28ug
Banana 1 medium = 23ug
Kiwi 1 medium = 17ug
Pear 1 medium = 12ug
Asparagus 1/2 cup cooked = 134ug
Broccoli 1/2 cup cooked = 84ug
Brussel sprouts 1/2 cup cooked = 80ug
Beets 1/2 cup cooked = 68ug
Spinach 1 cup raw = 58ug
Lentils 1/2 cup cooked = 179ug
Chickpeas 1/2 cup canned = 80ug
Kidney beans 1/2 cup cooked = 65ug
Instant oatmeal (fortified) 1 package = 125ug
Pasta 1 cup cooked = 150ug
Meals in a day:
Fruit salad with 1 cup papaya, 1/2 cup strawberries, 1/2 pear = 77ug folate
Salad with 1 cup spinach, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 cup canned chickpeas = 220ug folate
Pasta 1 cup cooked with 1/2 cup lentils and 1/2 cup cooked broccoli = 413ug folate
The book also mentions that if you do have the MTHFR gene variant that makes it difficult to process folic acid then you should take the active form of the supplement often called methylfolate.
Baby dust to all!