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Bananas and Folic Acid

By Anthony Isaac Palacios

Bananas are a source of many essential vitamins and minerals, including folic acid. Folic acid found naturally in foods is known as folate. You can also obtain folate by consuming a variety of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and certain meats. Consult a registered dietitian for a detailed list of folate-rich foods.

Banana Nutrition

Bananas are not a rich source of folate, but they are considered a good source. One medium-size banana provides 24 mcg of folate, or 6 percent of your recommended daily value. Consuming more than one banana daily would provide significant sources of folate. In addition, bananas are sources of B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium and other vital minerals.

Folic Acid Function

Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that must be obtained from foods. The vitamin is responsible for many bodily functions, including the formation of red blood cells and DNA. Folic acid is also essential for the growth, maintenance and function of all cells and tissues. Adequate folic acid intake is also vital during pregnancy to prevent birth defects, notes MedlinePlus. Signs and symptoms associated with folic acid deficiency are anemia, weakness, heart palpitations and digestive disorders.

Daily Recommendations

Adults require 400 mcg of folic acid daily. Pregnant and nursing women require greater amounts of folic acid, approximately 500 to 600 mcg per day. Children require only 200 to 300 mcg daily. The Linus Pauling Institute recommends that older adults take a daily folic acid supplement and follow a folate-rich diet. As a general rule, consume at least 5 servings of various fruits and vegetables daily.

Diet Considerations

When choosing bananas, pick firm ones that do not have any visible bruises. Bananas can be enjoyed as a snack, and they can also be added to many different things, including salads, cereals, breads and muffins. Add variety to your diet and get folic acid from different food sources. Rich sources of folate include spinach, asparagus, lentils, beans, beef liver and fortified cereals.

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