Leafy greens and dark green vegetables are an excellent source of folate (or folic acid), an essential B vitamin that supports healthy pregnancy in a number of ways. During the beginning stages of pregnancy, folate supports fetal brain development by preventing neural tube defects that can cause spina bifida and anencephaly. Folate also contributes to optimizing sperm production, promotes routine ova production, and aids in the creation of healthy red blood cells.
The Centers for Disease Control suggests that women who are trying to conceive consume at least 400mg of the B vitamin daily. Luckily, there are numerous ways to enjoy greens and incorporate other folate-rich foods such as lentils, asparagus, beets, beans, and broccoli into your diet.
Here are six tasty ideas:
- Tear pieces of kale, sprinkle them with olive oil and kosher salt, and roast on high for crunchy kale crisps.
- Throw a handful of chopped romaine lettuce into the blender with the ingredients for your favorite fruit smoothie.
- Sauté cooked lentils with olive oil, shallots and lemon for a filling side dish (or mix in some roasted veggies for a healthy lunch!)
- Stir-fry baby bok choy with garlic, soy sauce, ginger, and a drizzle of sesame oil (For a spicy kick, sprinkle in red pepper flakes)
- Toss baby spinach and sautéed mushrooms with hot whole wheat pasta or brown rice and pesto for a quick and easy dinner.
- Coat asparagus spears with olive oil, salt and pepper, and grill over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle the cooked asparagus with balsamic vinegar.
For more tips on healthy eating, check out our two part series Best Diets for Fertility – The Top 13 “Super” Foods – Part 1 and Best Diets for Fertility – The Top 13 “Super” Foods – Part 2.