Folic Acid

Folic acid, or folate, is a member of the B-vitamin family. The B-vitamins are a group of vitamins that act as enzymes (triggers) in the chemical reactions which convert food energy into the chemical energy used by the body for fuel. In other words, when we eat an apple, the energy (calories) in the apple needs to be changed into energy that the body can directly use, and B-vitamins make that happen.

In addition to working as an enzyme, folic acid also has a very special role. Folic acid is the chemical backbone of the the two molecules which "think" for our cells. DNA and RNA make up the cell's brain, the nucleus. Without folic acid, our body can't make either DNA or RNA, the genetic brains of our body. Now this is an extremely important thing for pregnant women, and for women who want to get pregnant. If there isn't enough folic acid floating around in the body, then the fetus won't develop as well as she/he could. In fact, without enough folic acid, there is high risk for spinal malformations in the fetus. Such high risk that the government has ordered all enriched white flour to be fortified with folic acid. This is extremely good news for all future babies and their families.

The fortification of enriched flour with folic acid is not only good for pregnant women, and women who will soon get pregnant, it's also good for anyone at high risk for heart disease. As heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.A., all American adults are at high risk. Folic acid may help prevent heart disease. Anyone who has diabetes is twice as likely to get heart disease. So by adding folic acid to all enriched flour, the government is doing something which will help everyone. Enriched flour is that which is used to make almost all commercial baked goods (bread, wheat cereals, pizza dough, tortillas, noodles, pasta, pies, cakes, cookies). Folic acid is also added to "fortified" breakfast cereals, such as Total, Corn Flakes, Cheerios, Kix, Special K, etc.

In addition to obtaining folic acid in enriched flour, and fortified cereals, I would recommend you eat:

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