Lentils + Fortified Grain Foods = Birth Defect Prevention
Folate, a B vitamin found in certain foods, and folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) help reduce the risk of neural-tube defects, such as spina bifida. Getting at least 400 micrograms daily of folate or folic acid (found in supplements and enriched grain products, such as cereals, pasta and white rice) before and during pregnancy can reduce neural-tube defects by up to 70 percent.
Because birth defects of the brain and spine occur in the first few weeks of pregnancy, usually before a woman even knows she is pregnant, it’s important to start getting the recommended daily amount as early as possible, ideally before conceiving. If you are already expecting, the recommended amount increases to 600 micrograms daily. You’ll likely need a folic acid supplement if your diet and prenatal vitamin do not supply all you need, but consult with your doctor before taking one.
MORE FOLATE SOURCES: Dark-green leafy vegetables, cabbage, cauliflower, green peas, oranges, melons, chickpeas, spinach.