Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate or Vitamin B9 that is found in certain foods. It is also sold separately as a supplement for those who need it, like pregnant women or those who have a Vitamin B9 deficiency. Because of how essential it is, Vitamin B9 has been added to a range of processes foods like bread and cereal, even when none of the ingredients may have had folic acid naturally. Examples of foods that contain Vitamin B9 naturally include leafy vegetables, animal liver and kidney, mushrooms, beans, and so on.
Vitamin B9 has so many important benefits on the body. For example, Folate helps with the production of red blood cells, which is something your body needs a lot of. That is why folate is recommended for those who have anaemia. Another thing folate does is repair DNA and other genetic materials. For pregnant women, taking folate allows the baby’s brain to develop well, preventing certain conditions.
Vitamin B9 is very important, which is why it is sold as a supplement. But you do not have to depend on a supplement for your regular Vitamin B9 supply. You can get it all from eating foods that are rich in the vitamin. We would be looking at some Nigerian foods that are rich in folic acid.
Eggs are small but powerful as they contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, including folate. One egg supplies you with 6% of the daily folate needs. Including eggs in your diet regularly would give you that steady supply of folate.
2. Dark Leafy Vegetables
Another place to naturally source your folate from is dark, leafy vegetables. These are very common and there are so many types of them, so there must be one you enjoy eating or including in your diet. Dark, leafy vegetables are known to be very rich in the nutrients your body need and vitamin B9 is no exception. Some common dark leafy green vegetables in Nigeria are bitter leaf, spinach, fluted pumpkin leaves and lemon basil.
You can also get your natural Vitamin B9 from beans, or other legumes such as soybeans, lentils, or peas. One cup of cooked beans (177 grams) would supply your body with 33% of the Daily Value of folate you need. In addition to Vitamin B9, beans contain a lot of other nutrients, which is why it is considered a healthy type of food. Beans are also rich in fibre and protein.
4. Beef Liver
Beef liver might be an odd source for a particular vitamin, but it is one of the few places where you can find folate in high amounts. A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of cooked beef liver could supply your body with 54% of your daily folate requirement. This, added to the fact that beef liver has a great taste, makes it an option worth considering for your regular diet.
You can also find your folate in fruits. One cup (140 grams) of pawpaw could supply your body with 13% of your daily required value of folate while one medium-sized banana could provide your body with as much as 6% of your DV. Other fruits you can take include oranges and other citruses, honeydew melon, avocado, paw paw, banana, and pineapple.
There are lot of healthy nuts in Nigeria, which are also loaded with folate. Generally, most nuts are rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and contain heart-healthy fats. They are equally a good source of folic acid. Some popular nuts in Nigeria that rich in folic acid are tiger nuts, groundnuts, dates, and walnuts.
Edible seeds are excellent sources of folic acid for pregnant women. Some local healthy edible seeds in Nigeria such as melon seeds, pumpkin seeds, and ehu seeds are all loaded with folic acid. Other seeds such as sesame seeds, fenugreek seeds, and flaxseeds contain decent amount of folate.
8. Sweet corn
Sweet corn or yellow corn is a popular food in Nigeria. It differs from white corn, because it contains carotenoids, while white corn does not have carotenoids. Sweet corn has a number of vitamins, including pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, niacin, and vitamin B9, which is folate.
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