Folic acid (also referred to as folate) has been on my mind a lot lately. As of today, I am 14 weeks pregnant with my first child, and I have focused on making folate-rich green smoothie recipes for the past few months.
The American Pregnancy Association recommends that pregnant women get 600 micrograms (mcg) of folate daily throughout their pregnancy.
Folic acid is critical for healthy pregnancies. Adequate folate intake before or just after conception can decrease the risk of neural tube defects (where the brain and spinal cord don’t fully develop) in the embryo by up to 70%.
Adequate folate may also reduce the risk of congenital heart defects, cleft lips, limb defects, and urinary tract anomalies in the embryo and fetus.
During pregnancy, folate deficiency may lead to pregnancy complications, low birth weight and miscarriage.
So how do you get this important vitamin in your diet?
In addition to a daily folic acid supplement from the time you planned to get pregnant and during my pregnancy, I am also using folate-rich fruits and vegetables in my green smoothie recipes such as oranges, broccoli, and leafy greens like romaine lettuce, spinach and collards.
Since the daily folate recommendations for pregnant women are higher than for non-pregnant women, and given the fact that folate is so critically important to healthy pregnancy and childbirth, I recommend taking a folic acid supplement in addition eating more folate-rich foods.
My Favorite Folate-Rich Green Smoothie Foods Include:
- Mango – (1 fruit, pitted) – 144 mcg
- Romaine Lettuce – (2 cups, shredded) 128 mcg
- Collard Greens – (2 cups) 119.5 mcg
- Spinach – (2 cups) 116 mcg
- Broccoli – (1 cup, chopped) 58 mcg
- Beets – (1/2 cup, chopped) 74 mcg
- Orange – (1 orange) 48 mcg
- Avocado – (1/4 avocado) 41 mcg
- Kale – (2 cups) 39 mcg)
- Dandelion Greens – (2 cups) 29.7 mcg
Some of my favorite smoothie combinations using the above foods include:
– 1 mango, 1 peach and 2 cups of fresh spinach for 278 mcg of folate.
– 1 banana, 1 orange and 2 cups of collard greens for 191 mcg of folate.
– 1 banana, 1 apple and 1 cup broccoli florets for 86 mcg of folate.
My Favorite Folic Acid-Rich Non-Smoothie Foods Include:
- Lentils – (1 cup, cooked) 358 mcg
- Black Beans – (1 cup, cooked) 256 mcg
- Chickpeas – (1 cup, cooked) 282 mcg
- Cauliflower – (1 cup, chopped) 61 mcg
- Asparagus – (5 spears) 42 mcg
You don’t have to get all 600 mcg of folate all at once. Throughout the day, use folate-rich foods in both your green smoothies and your whole food-based meals to get an adequate amount, and supplement when necessary to ensure the health of your growing baby.
Return to Green Smoothies For Pregnancy.