Folic acid is a B-vitamin, also known as folate. Folate is the naturally occurring form, while folic acid is the synthetic, lab- made form. Our body needs folate to create new cells: it works in the production of DNA and RNA, which is our fundamental genetic material. It is crucial for proper brain function and even plays a role in mental and emotional health.
Most people relate folic acid with pregnancy and infancy. Indeed, during child- bearing years, women should take at least 400-800 mcg of folic acid daily to prevent brain and neural tube defects in fetuses. Women of all ages should make sure their diet is rich in folate and take a supplement daily to meet those higher than usual needs during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Folate is important for men and women during all stages of life. Research shows that people who consume higher levels of dietary folate may have an advantage when it comes to heart disease prevention, one more reason to double check if you are getting enough of this folate. Research also shows that most Americans are not getting enough of this vitamin.
Now that you’re tuned in to your needs, just where can you find this powerful vitamin?
Green leafy vegetables, citrus, beans, and fortified grains are great sources of folate. Another good source that is not often mentioned comes to mind: peanut butter! Just 2 tablespoons of Once Again Creamy peanut butter will deliver 10% of your daily requirement.
So there you go, just one more reason to enjoy an extra serving of peanut butter every day! It will help you meet your folate needs, not to mention provide 7 super grams of protein in those 2 tablespoons. As a dietitian, I often turn to nut butters to meet many of my client’s needs — it is just that powerful!