I just learned something new and I thought I should share it with you: folate and folic acid are the same thing. Well not exactly the same thing. Although they are both forms of a water soluble B vitamin, folate naturally occurs in food and folic acid is its synthetic form found in supplements and added to fortified foods.
Folate and folic acid not only prevent anemia during pregnancy, they also help to produce and maintain new cells. These two reason are why it is essential to take folic acid before and during pregnancy. So if you are planning on becoming a mama soon, make sure you're getting your daily value (DV) of this vitamin, which is 500 micrograms if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. For all other adults the recommended DV is 400 micrograms.
Aside from pregnancy, folate is an important nutrient since it is needed to make DNA and RNA, the building blocks of cells. It also helps prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer. The "C" word usually catches people's attention, so now I want you to know what to eat for your DV of folate.
Foods naturally high in folate are: leafy green vegetables like spinach and turnip greens (don't toss the greens when cooking with turnips you can sauté them with garlic just like spinach), citrus fruits and juices, as well as dried beans and peas. Since 1998, folic acid has been added to "enriched" grain products like breads and cereals. Many fortified cereals contain 100% of your daily folate needs. Ahhhh...another reason to read those labels.