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Vitamins and minerals: Folic acid and iron

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Folic acid

RDA = 0.2 mg. Pregnant women, or women trying for a baby should take 0.4 mg
Also known as: Folate
What's it good for? It helps everyone to produce healthy red blood cells but pregnant women are told to take it because it can prevent birth defects, especially if taken in the first three months, such as spina bifida, cleft palate or cleft lip.
What happens if I don't get enough? You might feel tired all the time or suffer from anaemia (a lack of iron in the blood).
Where can I get it from? As it's one of the B-group vitamins it is found in small amounts in many foods. Good sources include broccoli, peas, asparagus and brown rice. It's also in some bread and fruit like oranges and bananas. If you are pregnant or trying for a baby it's important to get the right amount every day so taking a supplement might still be necessary, just to guarantee you're getting enough.

Foodmg of folic acid
1 medium banana0.024
1 large orange0.055
1 medium stalk of broccoli0.1
10 asparagus spears0.1
.


Iron

RDA = 14.8 mg for women and 8.7 mg for men
What's it good for? Iron helps build red blood cells and helps your muscles work properly. It also helps build white blood cells and boost your immune system. Women who lose a lot of blood during their period might need to take iron supplements.
What happens if I don't get enough? You might feel tired, irritable and have trouble concentrating.
Where can I get it from? Iron is in loads of food, such as liver, meat, beans, nuts, dried fruit, whole grain and most dark green leafy veg like curly kale. Vitamin C can help iron be absorbed into your system.

Spinach contains a substance that makes it harder for the body to absorb the iron from it and if you're pregnant avoid eating liver because of the amount of vitamin A it contains.

Foodmg of iron
Handful of curly kale1.14
1oz of liver pate1.56
A tin of baked beans8.2
A large bag of dried apricots7.92
.


Read on: Minerals to boost your immune system: Magnesium, Selenium and Zinc

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- Pregnancy and folic acid
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- How well are you? Take our immune system quiz to find out
- Foods that are better than medicine

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