Diet therapy

Folate fuss & fortification of bread

After the past week of media coverage most New Zealanders have now heard of folate.

Whether or not folate is finally added to bread one thing is clear….

We all need folate!

Folate and Children

  • Folate is a B Group vitamin essential for DNA production
  • Children need it during times of rapid growth
  • Folate protects against the neural tube defect spina bifida. If taken one month prior to birth and during the first 3 months of pregnancy it can prevent this crippling disease.

Unfortunately the first month or so can slip by before pregnancy is even detected. So if you are thinking about having a baby start taking folate before its conception.

Folate and the Brain

  • Folate helps reduce the risk of developing Alzheimers.
  • It also helps to reduce depression
  • Folate helps elevate our mood and makes people happier.
  • It aids cognitive functioning helping us to learn and improving memory.

Folate and the Heart

  • Folate reduces the metabolite Homocysteine in the blood thereby reducing heart disease and thrombosis.
  • It also reduces the risk of stroke by up to 20%.

Folate and the Bones

  • Folate helps to prevent collagen breakdown which is associated with bone weakness and fracture particularly in the elderly.

Food Sources

Good food sources of folate include:- bran and fortified breakfast cereals,green leafy vegetables,peas,wholegrains,avocado,beans,egg and yoghurt.

How Much?

National Nutrition Surveys have found our intake of folate is low across all age groups but particularly amongst our children and the elderly.

To check that your current folate  intake is meeting your needs discuss this with your doctor and contact Lea for a nutritional assessment and advice.

About the author View all

Lea Stening

Lea is one of New Zealand’s leading paediatric dietitians and also specialises in Sports Nutrition. She has specialised in Paediatric Nutrition for 31 years and in 1985 was the first paediatric dietitian to enter private practice in New Zealand. Lea helps families through her private consultations, public lectures, newspaper and magazine articles as well as television and radio interviews. Read more »

View all posts by Lea Stening »


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