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Women Unaware of Folic Acid Benefits

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Gail Frank, RD, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, says the message about folic acid may still be "new news" for many women.

"It's strange that women aren't locked into the idea yet. It should be as popular as a new dress, pair of shoes, or makeup. But it's 100 times more important," Frank tells WebMD.

She says there are only about 8-10 major natural sources of the vitamin, such as leafy greens, asparagus, and lean meats. But the form of folic acid found in fortified foods -- including ready-to-eat cereals, whole grains, and orange juice -- and supplements is much easier for the body to absorb.

"It's important for women to understand how what they eat pertains to their overall health and well-being as well as the health of an unborn child," says Frank. "They should be alert that there are specific nutrients that can prevent challenges their body and baby will face, and this is one of them."

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