Healthful Mondays: Folic acid – not just for preggers

While I was pregnant, taking that super-huge prenatal was the worst part of my day. They made me gag, caused nausea (which I didn’t need any more of) and left a chalky taste in my mouth. YUCK. I spent hours researching other ways to get my daily dose of folic acid (while pregnant = 600+ mcg!) in any way possible. I found there are lots of foods full of folic acid, but that in order to get enough of the stuff to ensure a healthy bambino, the best solution is to swallow the nasty pill.

Here’s the other thing, folic acid isn’t just for preggers. The vitamin has tons of benefits for men and women of all ages from creating super healthy red blood cells (hello healthy heart!) to aiding with fighting depression and memory deterioration. Folic acid helps you to feel good, so finding ways to incorporate more into your diet is no brainer.

Instead of spending cash on boring supplements, try eating your daily dose of folic acid. Not only are foods that are full of folic acid yummy, they are a healthy way to get your daily-recommended dosage of 400 mcg.

Sunflower seeds: toss back a hand full of these fun little seeds and get half a daily recommended dose of folic acid along with vitamin E and lots of fiber, which helps you feel full.

Hummus: You can buy some at the store or buzz some up in your food processor. Either way, garbanzo beans are full of folate and if you add in some garlic, even better for your heart health.

Fresh citrus: An orange has lots of folic acid along with fantastic vitamin C. Tangerines, pineapples and also bananas have a good amount of folate, which makes grabbing one on the go another way to get a dose of folic acid.

Cereals: Many breakfast cereals are great sources of folic acid, but watch the sugar, salt and calorie content! Breakfast bars are also another option for a folate fix.

Anything green: Most green vegetables, such as spinach or beet greens, contain huge amounts of folic acid. It’s not often that you find a spinach smoothie or asparagus snack bar, so including green sides at meals provides your body with a full dose of folic acid.

So, pregnant or not, folic acid offers many health benefits and can easily be added into even a finicky eater’s diet. Not only are you eating yourself toward a heart healthy life, you are providing yourself with other nutrients that will help you to feel satisfied, energized, and positive.

Healthful Mondays – Pilates

I’m pretty lazy when it comes to exercise. I do it, but am not into the high-impact-super-sweaty kinda stuff. Anything that guarantees getting in shape that involves laying down, sitting in a chair or low-impact cardio, I’m excited about.

While pregnant, I figured I needed to do something to stay in shape that wouldn’t shake the baby. Someone suggested to check out Pilates, so I did. At first I thought the whole thing had to be a bunch of hooey – something that promised long lean legs and a flat tummy by doing slow movements. I wanted long lean legs and a flat tummy (yes, I am fully aware that a flat tummy can NOT be obtained while pregnant – but I had visions for the future).

With a couple of fun and super short work out DVD’s, I started out slow and found Pilates to be an enjoyable and challenging work out routine that was beneficial during pregnancy and post-pregnancy. Today, along with attempting some cardio to keep the heart healthy, I still do Pilates almost every day. Do I have long lean legs and a flat tummy? NO. Genetically, I’m just not built that way. I can still dream though, right?

My favorite pregnancy Pilates work out was Pilates During Pregnancy with Niece Pacenka. Not only do I like Niece’s name, I found her routines easy to follow, comfortable and adjustable for your trimester. Post pregnancy, I couldn’t get enough of Ana Caban and her Maintenance Pilates for Weight Loss. These short work outs kick your tushy and are also easy to follow. Yes, you spend most of the routine on your back, but be ready for your stomach to burn the next day!

So, whether you are pregnant and want an engaging work out or just looking for a way to get some defined muscles, check out Pilates. You can do it in the comfort of your own home or check out a class at your local gym. In no time you can look just like me!