Folate is important in pregnancy, especially early in pregnancy, since getting plenty of it can reduce baby’s risk of birth defects. What’s not to love about that? Make sure you’re getting enough folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) in your prenatal vitamin—at least 400 micrograms daily. You’ll also want to eat plenty of these foods that are naturally high in folate:
• Lentils. A half-cup serving packs 180 micrograms of folate. Whether you buy dried lentils or buy them canned, rinse them before cooking to remove dirt and sodium.
• Spinach. This super-food contains 131 micrograms of folate per half-cup, cooked. What else makes it super? It’s rich in phytochemicals that protect against cancer.
• Black beans. A half-cup of black beans contains 128 micrograms. Add them to tossed salads, soups and pasta or rice dishes. Or order that burrito you love (yum!).
• Asparagus. Four spears of asparagus have 85 micrograms of folate. The spring vegetable is also a great source of fiber and potassium.
• Fortified breakfast cereal. Most cereals contain up to 400 micrograms of folic acid in a serving. Look for one that contains at least 35 percent of the daily value for folic acid.
Plus, more from The Bump: