Anaemia : Folate Anaemia
A deficiency of folate may result in megaloblastic anaemia and other blood disorders. The deficiency can be in combination with B12 or iron and should not be treated without checking other nutrient levels.
The availability of folate depends on the acidity, fibre and the amount of carbohydrate in the food. Folate is water soluble and easily lost in discarded cooking water. Folate is sensitive (destroyed by) to heat, air and to alkaline conditions. Fruit and vegetable sources of folate are easily destroyed by prolonged storage and cooking.
The Recommended Dietary Intakes (R.D.I.) for folate in micrograms
Men and women 200 µg
Women in pregnancy 400 µg
Women in lactation 350 µg
Boys and girls 12 to 18 years 200 µg
Boys and girls 8-11 years 150 µg
Children 1-7 year 100 µg
Infants - 7-12 months 75 µg
Infants 0-6 months 50 µg
Although the recommended intakes are adequate, they are possibly not optimum levels to achieve and maintain maximum health.
Increase consumption of folate from fresh food by using proper transport and cold storage of fresh fruit and vegetables will help maintain folate levels in the food. This is particularly important in Perth hot summers.
- Choose a fruit and vegetable or grocery store with good turn over where fresh produce is assured.
- Put fruit and vegetables into a cooler to transport them home.
- Refrigerate and use as soon as possible. Donít leave fruit and vegetables sitting in a hot car or on the kitchen counter.
- Grow dark green vegetables such as silverbeet, spinach, and broccoli in the garden. You can take vegetables straight from the garden to the table to ensure high levels of folate.
Increase consumption through fresh and cooked food
- Add beans and lentils to soups and casseroles since the cooking water is not lost.
- Use fresh raw dark green vegetables regularly- Spinach and cos lettuce in salad are excellent sources. Use raw broccoli in avocado dip.
- Steam or microwave vegetables to minimise loss in cooking water.
- Add any cooking water to gravy, sauces, soups, casseroles and mashed potatoes.
An adequate intake of folate can be achieved from a well balanced diet. Bran, cereals and cereal fortified with folate, wholegrain bread, dark green vegetables, beans and lentils, egg yolk, are good sources of folate. Liver, pate and lambs fry are excellent sources but must be avoided in pregnancy because of their high vitamin A level.