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Articles - A Healthy Diet:

We are supposed to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, as recommended by
Herbs put the finishing touches to meals. However, their aroma can only be fully appreciated if
When bananas have been left in the fruit bowl for a long time, the overripe, brown fruit can be
Scorzonera or black salsify is not a particularly good-looking vegetable with its dark, earthy skin.
You can’t concentrate or your tummy is rumbling. Many people grab the simplest solution – a

More folic acid is especially important
during pregnancy

Only 20 percent of Germans get enough folate. Pregnant women are hardly able to cover their increased demand for this vitamin through diet alone. An undersupply of folic acid can be harmful for mother and child alike. That is why all women who are planning a pregnancy or expecting a baby are recommended to take folic acid as a precaution against deficiency symptoms.


Folate and folic acid is an essential B vitamin and occurs naturally in food (folate) or is produced synthetically (folic acid) for nutritional supplements or medicine. It dissolves in water and is sensitive to light, oxygen and heat. Vegetables containing folate (e.g. white cabbage, spinach, broccoli, fennel and chicory) should, therefore, be briefly but thoroughly washed (not dowsed!), used up quickly and not cooked for any length of time. Inside the body, folate and folic acid contributes to cell division and growth processes. A deficiency leads to anaemia, digestion problems and changes in the mucous membranes. It makes a foetus prone to neural tube defects (“open spine”, “spina bifida”) and deformities such as cleft palate.


Adults should consume a daily amount of 400 µg (micrograms) of folic acid. Pregnant women need more, around 600 µg of folic acid. To cover this pregnant women are advised to take a supplement with 400 µg of folic acid daily. Women wanting a baby should starting taking folic acid before the pregnancy begins since the spinal canal of the unborn baby closes up already during the fourth embryonal week. Few women realise that they are pregnant by this time. Whether to give a higher dosage after this is a question best decided in consultation with a gynaecologist. The preparation should be taken until the end of the first trimester.


In addition, pregnant women should try to eat a diet rich in folate with plenty of green vegetables, pulses, wholegrain products and citrus fruits. Folic acid is often added to breakfast cereals and mueslis as well as dairy products, so check the labels.

Source: Nadia Röwe, www.aid.de