Surprise! Folic acid isn't just for when you're planning to get pregnant

Safefood recommends all women who are sexually active should be taking a folic acid supplement daily

When you think of folic acid, the first thing that probably springs to mind is pregnancy and this association is correct.

However, folic acid isn't just for when you're planning to get pregnant because approximately half of pregnancies are unplanned. 

Safefood, the all-island government body responsible for the promotion of food hygiene, food safety and healthy eating, is encouraging ALL women who are sexually active to consider taking a folic acid supplement every day. 

Folic acid reduces the chances of neural tube defects during pregnancy, as well as aiding in the development of babies brains and spines, which begin to form early on during pregnancy so by taking the supplement you are making sure you have enough folic acid in your blood. 

There is folate (naturally occurring folic acid) found in many foods you eat on a daily basis like leafy greens, nuts and grains but it's difficult to get to the recommended level through diet alone, especially if you are already lacking. However, the supplement form of folic acid is used more efficiently by our bodies and there is a wide range available in pharmacies and health food stores across the country. If you are sexually active, and could become pregnant, start taking it as part of your morning routine.     

Of course, depending on your health and family history, especially if there's spina bifida in your family, you should speak to your GP before adding a new supplement to your routine.  

If you want to learn more about folic acid, visit: www.safefood.eu