Folic acid, a friendly vitamin B, is much like a superhero for our bodies. What may come as a surprise to most is that it’s not just for pregnant women! Yes, men can very much reap the benefits of a healthy folic acid level too. So, what are benefits of folic acid, and how can it make our lives better?
What’s Folic Acid, and Why Do We Need It?
Think of folic acid as a helper vitamin, found in leafy greens, beans, and nuts. When we talk about folic acid, we’re talking about the synthetic form of a vitamin called folate. Scientifically, both of these help our body make new and healthy red blood cells.
Red blood cells are the heroes of our bodies. Agents that carry oxygen to every part of the body. It also aids in breaking down homocysteine, a form of amino acid in our blood. So, folic acid is like the main component behind the scenes, making sure our genes (the things that control everything in our bodies) work their best.
Benefits of Folic Acid For Women
While the acid in general is important for both genders, it is especially prescribed to pregnant women. If a mom-to-be gets enough folic acid, it helps make sure the baby grows just right and avoids birth defects, like spina bifida or anencephaly. Spina bifida messes with the spinal cord, and anencephaly makes the brain develop wonky. We want to steer clear of those, right?
But wait, there’s more benefits of folic acid for women! Even after the baby arrives, if new mothers keep up with the folic acid, it helps with breastfeeding. The mother passes on the nutrients to the baby through breastmilk.
Benefits of Folic Acid For Men
Now, let’s talk about the benefits of folic acid for men. Folic acid is like a secret weapon for guys too, especially when it comes to making babies. Studies say it can boost the number and movement of sperm. So, if you’re thinking about starting or expanding your family, a little folic acid boost might be a good idea.
And get this – it’s not just about babies. Folic acid can also be a shield against heart disease and stroke. That’s like giving your heart a little superhero cape to keep it strong and healthy.
According to research when a healthy adult takes in the required amount daily, they can reap the following heart health benefits.
1. Decreased risk of heart disease by 15%
2. Decreased risk of a stroke by 20%
3. Decreased possibility of blood clot formation in legs by 25%
How Much Should You Get, and Where Can You Find It?
Despite its many benefits, folic acid, like other supplements should be taken moderately and in regulation. For adults, the ideal amount lies around 400 micrograms (mcg) a day. Pregnant women may aim for 600 mcg, and breastfeeding moms can stick to 500 mcg.
Now, where can one find this fantastic folic acid? Thankfully, nature has us covered. Natural sources of folic acid include:
– Leafy greens like spinach and kale)
– Beans, like lentils, black beans, and kidney beans
– Cereals that got a folic acid boost
– Citrus fruits and their juices
– Whole grains
– Nuts and seeds
If juggling all these foods feels like an impossible task in itself, no worries. Over the counter folic acid tablets can also be used. Always there when you need a little extra boost.
When Should You Start this Folic Acid Adventure?
If you are trying to have a baby, increase your folic acid intake at least a month before the baby-making journey begins. Keep the intake as recommended through pregnancy and breastfeeding. It’s like giving our bodies a little extra support during these emotionally and physically taxing phases of life.
Any Side Effects of Folic Acid?
Most of the time, folic acid is like the friend who never lets you down. But hey, sometimes, it might cause a bit of nausea – nothing too serious. If that happens, just hit pause, talk to your general physician or gynecologist, and figure out what works best for you.
In a Nutshell
So, what’s the deal with folic acid? It’s like the unsung hero of vitamins, here to make sure our cells and genes are in tip-top shape. The benefits of folic acid are many and for all! Soon-to-be mothers, it’s your partner in making sure those little ones grow just right. Soon-to-be fathers, it’s your secret weapon for healthy sperm. And for everyone else, keep your heart strong by taking it regularly!
It’s like a daily dose of goodness you can find in your favorite foods or a handy supplement. Let’s keep it simple – folic acid is our friendly sidekick for a healthy and happy life!
(The information in this article should not be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice)