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- MayoClinic.com; Folic Acid; Feb. 2011
- National Institutes of Health: Folate; April 2009
- OSU: Folic Acid; Jane Higdon, Ph.D., April 2002
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Folic acid and folate are terms that are often used interchangeably. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, a B vitamin that occurs naturally in some foods. Necessary for cell production and growth, folate helps produce DNA and prevents certain serious birth defects including spina bifida. It also plays a role in anemia prevention because it promotes the production of red blood cells in both adults and children. Many foods, like cereals and baked goods, are fortified with folic acid; however, folate occurs naturally in citrus fruits.
Recommended dietary guidelines for folate vary depending on your age and if you are pregnant or lactating. Infants up to 6 months of age should get approximately 65 micrograms of folate per day, whereas infants 7 to 12 months need about 80 micrograms per day. For children ages 1 to 3, the recommendation is 150 micrograms per day, while ages 4 to 8 need 200 micrograms per day, and ages 9 to 13 need 300 micrograms per day. Adolescents ranging in age from 14 to 19 should aim for about 400 micrograms of folate each day. Pregnant women need 600 micrograms per day.
One type of citrus fruit that can provide you with folate is grapefruit. The amount of folate found in one Florida grapefruit is about 22 micrograms. However, other kinds of grapefruits like those harvested in California and Arizona contain close to 10 micrograms more. You can also get folate from drinking grapefruit juice, which has about 25 micrograms in 1 cup.
Lemons and Limes
According to the United States Department of Agriculture 1 cup of lemons provides you with about 23 micrograms of folate, while 1 cup of lemon juice contains about 24 micrograms. Similarly, limes are also a type of citrus fruit that contain folate. One cup of lime juice provides you with about 20 micrograms of folate.
Oranges and Tangerines
You can get approximately 8 percent of your daily value for folate by eating one small orange, as it provides you with about 30 micrograms. A serving of orange juice contains even more -- about 75 micrograms in a 6 oz. glass. Oranges also provide you with many other vitamins and minerals including vitamin C. Also part of the citrus fruit family, tangerines are a type of mandarin orange that contain folate, with about 19 micrograms in one large tangerine.
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