Folic Acid a Healthy Step for Hispanic Women

Folic Acid a Healthy Step for Hispanic Women



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–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – CONTEXTO LATINO)–Folic acid is an important component of every woman’s diet because of its vital role in reducing the risk of serious birth defects called neural tube defects (NTDs). Folic acid is a B-Vitamin that helps the body to make healthy new cells. If taken before and during early pregnancy from a multi-vitamin or fortified foods, folic acid can prevent up to 70% of some forms of NTDs.

While all women need to be informed about folic acid, in particular Hispanic women of childbearing age need to be informed about the need to take folic acid every day. According to national statistics, Hispanic babies are 1.5 to 2 times more likely than others in the U.S. to be born with a NTD than those of other races and ethnicities.

Folic acid is found naturally as folate in a number of foods, such as bananas, peas, asparagus and broccoli, but it is through multivitamin supplements or fortified cereals and breads that one consumes the recommended daily allowance of folic acid, 400 micrograms according to The U.S. Public Health Service. Many Latinas may have diets lacking in this important B vitamin because they are not consuming enough fortified foods or may believe myths about folic acid, contributing to their apprehension about taking supplements.

According to Judy Meehan, executive director of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, “Informing Latinas about the benefits of folic acid is valuable. With additional research and public support we can have a profound impact on countless Latino families.”

Here are a few facts to consider:

— Folic acid must be present in the body before a woman becomes pregnant to be fully effective. At least half of all pregnancies are unplanned, therefore, it is important for all women to consume 400 Mcg of folic acid as a precautionary step, even if they are not planning to have a baby.

— Solely eating foods containing folate may not be enough. The body actually absorbs the synthetic form of folic acid found in vitamins more easily than they do foods with folate. The best way to get the folic acid needed is to take a vitamin with 400 Mcg of folic acid every day in addition to eating a healthy diet of foods containing folate.

— Contrary to a common belief, taking a multivitamin does not increase one’s appetite, nor does it contribute to weight gain.

— Even if there is no history of birth defects in a woman’s family, it is still important to take 400 Mcg of folic acid daily as a preventative measure.

— You can find the amount of folic acid in the foods you eat simply by reading the nutritional information found on the package. See if the food contains folic acid (listed as folic acid or folate). Read across to see the percentage of the Recommended Daily Allowance per serving. Four-hundred micrograms is equal to 100 percent of folic acid needed. There are many breakfast cereals that have a full supply of folic acid in every serving.

— Women who are breastfeeding or are currently pregnant may need to consume more folic acid. An OB/GYN can guide you as to the correct amount to take for optimal women’s health.

— While research strongly supports folic acid’s role in preventing NTDs, preliminary research is also linking folic acid and its importance in preventing heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease.

To learn more about the benefits of folic acid, talk to you doctor. You can also visit http://://www.hmhb.org. The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) is a leading voice on maternal and child health, reaching an estimated one hundred million health care professionals, parents and policymakers through its membership of over 200 local, state and national organizations. By promoting optimal health for mothers and babies and responsible fatherhood, HMHB works to strengthen families and build healthy communities.

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Folic Acid a Healthy Step for Hispanic Women