KidsZone • London

Wednesday 3rd May 2006
Diva J-Lo’s Popeye Diet!!
For those trying to fall pregnant, it is worthwhile to follow in the footsteps of the pop diva Jennifer Lopez. The star and her husband have reportedly been trying to conceive for around two years, and are eager to have a baby. To increase her chances of falling pregnant, J-Lo has been advised by her doctor to eat spinach three times a day to boost her intake of folic acid.

Folic acid is really important for an unborn baby, because it helps the foetus to develop properly. Taking the recommended amount of folic acid can reduce the baby’s risk of developing neural tube defects such as spina bifida, but there is no evidence as yet that folic acid aids fertility or conception.

Folic acid can be added to your diet through certain foods, such as: leafy green vegetables (like J-Lo’s fave spinach), broccoli, brussel sprouts, baked potatoes, black eyed beans, and bran flakes. It is important not to overcook them, as this kills off all of the folic acid. Try steaming or microwaving your vegetables, or for the brave, eat them raw!

Getting the right amount of folic acid you need just through eating folate-rich foods, is difficult. In the UK, the Department of Health recommends that women should take a daily folic acid supplement (0.4 mg) from the time they start trying for a baby, and for the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy. Folic acid tablets can be obtained from pharmacies, large supermarkets, health food stores and by prescription.

It has also been revealed this month that experts have recommended to the UK Government that folic acid should be added to all bread. It is thought that this would dramatically reduce the number of babies developing conditions like spina bifida. The US, Canada and Chile have already adopted this policy and have cut down on neural tube defect pregnancies by 50%.

Before adding folic acid supplements to your diet, do consult with your local GP first.

written by Siobhan Tattan
(KidsZone • London)