It's folic acid awareness week. Folic acid + folate. They sound like twins, but they are quite different.
This past July, I was diagnosed with the MTHFR gene mutation. I know it sounds like I'm swearing, but the gene's official name is methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. This diagnosis came after my second miscarriage. Both of my miscarriages really left an aches in my soul. The loss of the babies will always have an impact on me. My first miscarriage made me a mother. My recent miscarriage led me to the diagnosis of the MTHFR gene mutation. Learning how this impacts my life has been overwhelming, yet quite helpful to improve my overall health.
I am not a doctor or a science minded person like my husband. But, I do understand that folic acid is essential to every cell in our body. Folic acid is converted to methylfolate, after several steps. Methylation is a fundamental action that is always occurring in our body. But, for people with the MTHFR gene mutation, we can't process folic acid properly. Resulting in many possible things like, recurrent miscarriages, depression, anxiety, pulmonary embolisms, autoimmune disease, and many others. The U.S. National Library of Medicine describes the role of the MTHFR gene here.
Here's the thing, folic acid is a synthetic, man-made vitamin + is fortified in foods. Folate is naturally occurring in whole foods. When we consume foods that are naturally high in folate, we are improving our health tremendously, even for those that aren't living with MTHFR.
Here are some whole foods high in folate:
Broccoli + Cauliflower
Lentils + Beans
Papaya + Oranges
Folate is just one more reason to focus on eating leafy greens + other whole foods for important health benefits. Cheers to methylation + folic acid awareness week!
What are your favorite high folate foods?
Photography by Lindsey Lee & Co.