Do I really need a vitamin or can I get folic acid from my diet?
Although many foods contain folate (the natural form of folic acid) or are fortified with folic acid, it's hard to get enough from diet alone, says Dr. Ashton. Folate-rich foods include dark leafy veggies like broccoli and brussels sprouts, as well as beans, legumes, and oranges. And since 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has required that bread, cereal, rice, and pasta be fortified with folic acid.
While these foods are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet, eating them in conjunction with a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin is your best bet. "Taking a daily multivitamin is like a good insurance policy," Dr. Ashton says, ensuring that you get enough of the nutrient every day regardless of what you eat. Plus, research from the Institute of Medicine has shown that your body absorbs folic acid better from supplements than from food.
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