We’ve all heard of folic acid and, most likely, you already know it’s at the top of the list of supplements essential for a healthy and safe pregnancy, and even when planning to get pregnant! Who else can benefit from folic acid? What’s the deal? As always, we turn to top Lebanese food consultant and medical and weight loss dietician Mira Khattar for the very best in dietary advice!

“Folic acid is a part of the vitamin B family… it is also called vitamin B9. It is an essential part of a healthy diet. Lack of this important vitamin can lead to a lot of problems. It prevents heart diseases: Heart diseases are usually linked to high homocysteine levels in the blood. And that is directly linked to folic acid and vitamin B deficiency. Too much homocysteine can cause serious artery damage. And it’s essential for the formation of red and white blood cells. Whether you’re already expecting or just planning to get pregnant, you need to take folate-rich food with folic acid supplements.”

What does folic acid do? Studies have shown that folic acid was able to decrease the risk of the most common NTD (neural tube defects): Spina bifida (the leading cause of childhood paralysis) and anencephaly (a fatal condition in which an infant is born with a severely underdeveloped brain and skull).

Folic acid also prevents your baby from developing a heart defect and cleft lip (when the two lips can’t touch).

Consult your doctor about how much folic acid you should take before your pregnancy

Where can you get folic acid from? Folic acid is condensed in green leafy vegetables like parsley, spinach and Rocca. You can find it also in lentils, beans and peas in the form of folate. Avocado, asparagus and sunflower seeds are also rich in folic acid. However, studies have shown that it is actually better absorbed by the body in a supplement form to maximize Vitamin B benefits.

Folic acid is vital for the proper functioning of the human body… do not neglect it!

Follow Mira on Instagram at @eatlikemira and remember to keep up to date with her latest advice and trends here at PassionsArabia.com