January 3-9 is Folic Acid Awareness Week.  Folic acid is a B vitamin (B9) that plays many roles in maintaining health.  A deficiency of folic acid can lead to anemia, neural tube defects and heart disease.

Recommended intake:

  • Adults – 400mcg/day
  • Females of childbearing age or who are pregnant – 400-600 mcg/day
  • Breastfeeding women – 500 mcg/day

Folic acid is the form found in supplements and enriched processed products. Folate is the form found naturally in foods. Good sources of folate are enriched breakfast cereals, breads and pasta. Natural sources include beans, lentils, peas and dark green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, asparagus and brussel sprouts.

Other Resources for Learning:

Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) for folic acid:  http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/folate/dosing/hrb-20059475

Folic Acid Fact Sheet: https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/folic-acid.html

Food sources of folate: http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Vitamins/Food-Sources-of-Folate.aspx

Lentil Spinach Soup

Warm yourself on a cold day with this hearty, folate-packed soup!

Total time:  46 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cups (8 ounces) lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups packed shredded fresh spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces fat-free plain yogurt

Directions:

  1. Fry oil and cumin seeds in heavy saucepan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.  Stir in onion, garlic, coriander and pepper.  Cook, stirring often for 4-6 minutes or until tender.  Stir in paprika.
  2. Add lentils and water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 30-35 minutes or until lentils are very tender.
  3. Stir in diced tomatoes, spinach and salt.  Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.  May serve with a swirl of nonfat plain yogurt.

Recipe: http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/recipes/lentil-soup-with-spinach

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