This vitamin, first isolated from spinach, was originally called folacin, which stems from a Latin word meaning "leaf." Some of its richest sources are vegetables with large leaves, such as apm^ch and escarole.
Functions The inclusion of folic acid in the diet of bodybuilders is important for several reasons. In its role as one of the water-soluble B vitamins, it stimulates the production of hydrochloric :M?(d. 1 hereby helping in the breakdown ol protein. Without a sufficient supply ut folic add. 11 would be necessary to increav: votir intake of hydrochloric acid supplements It is .ilso essential to 1 he lor iiiation iv a number o| amino uud ■■. in chiding tyrosine and methionine. Working as a carrier for the iron-containing protein in hemoglobin, it is vital to the formation of red blood cells, The process ol mitosis find cell repnhliu I ion throughout llic hmh systems ts also dependent on folic ucnJ in -vnthesi/e UNA ldcu\yribnnudcic liddl and RN A I ribonucleic acidh elements vital to the nucleus of every cell.
Deficiency symptoms Digestive problems may be caused by a deficiency because folic acid works to break down proteins. Anemia and mental deterioration can also be caused by a lack of folic acid over an extended period of time.
Destroys vitamin or limits absorption Chronic alcoholism, stress, tobacco, caffeine, boiling, and sunlight destroy or limit absorption of folic acid.
Storage The green lealy vegetables should be stored in a crisper or plastic bag and used within two or three days. Do not wash asparagus before storing. Ideally, asparagus should be kept in a tall container, somewhat like flowers with their stems in about an inch of water. Lacking this ideal arrangement, store in a plastic bag or vegetable crisper. Room temperature for two days will destroy approximately 75 percent of their folic acid content.
Processing effects Since boiling vegetables results in folic acid losses as high as 95 percent, they should be steamed until just tender. Canned vegetables lose over 75 percent of their folic acid content due to the volume of water and the high temperature used in preparing them.
Best sources Brewer's yeast, kidneys, liver, spinach, toruia yeast.
Animal Cheddar cheese, chicken giblets, egg yolks, fish (all types except cod and halibut).
Fruit Avocados, bananas, oranges.
Grains, nuts, seeds Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, rye flour, walnuts, wheat germ, whole grain wheat products.
Vegetables Asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, endive, garbanzo beans, green beans, lettuce, parsley, pumpkins, turnip greens, soybeans.
Selection When buying spinach, escarole, and other vegetables with large leaves, pick those that have a good green color and crisp appearance. Reject any that have stains resembling rust or any wilted areas. Parsley should also appear crisp, without any yellow leaves Asparagus is best when tips are closed and compact, and when purchased from markets that keep them standing upright in a small amount of water.
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