What are green, round and a healthy boost for unborn babies? | Action Medical Research

What are green, round and a healthy boost for unborn babies?

27 March 2001
It’s a key ingredient in every Christmas dinner. But the humble sprout is laying its cards on the dinner table, and urging consumers not to doubt the power of the sprout at any time of year! The leafy vegetable is an excellent source of folic acid for pregnant mothers and mums-to-be. And the British Sprout Grower’s Association has added its support to an important health campaign being spearheaded by a leading medical research charity. Thirty years ago Action Research, which is fast approaching its 50th anniversary, discovered vital clues suggesting that the folic acid vitamin was a key ingredient in helping prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Although subsequent studies have reiterated this key message, many women fail to take the recommended advice and dosage. A MORI poll* commissioned by the charity at the tail end of last year found that only 56% of the respondents (all women aged 15-55) understood the important health link. To supplement its on-going awareness campaign, Action Research has joined forces with The British Sprout Growers Association as part of national Veggie Month (all through March). Sprouts are one of the best natural sources of folate, with 110mcg of folic acid per 100grams. They are also low in fat, low in sodium, high in dietary fibre, high in vitamin C, and are free of cholesterol. The Association - whose motto is ‘A sprout is for life not just for Christmas’ - has backed the charity’s calls for increased awareness about the importance of folic acid for women trying for children or in early pregnancy. Alex Bingham, spokesperson for and member of the British Sprout Growers Association says: ‘The move towards healthier lifestyles has encouraged us to provide more information about the nutritional health benefits of sprouts. ‘We were thrilled to support Action Research and its efforts to raise awareness about folic acid and ways in which women can increase their intake.’ Women hoping to become pregnant are advised to take a 400mcg supplement of folic acid every day immediately after stopping contraception and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Although it would take an average of 16 sprouts a day to consume the daily recommended dosage of folic acid, women could also eat a diet rich in folate, including spinach, potatoes, bananas, strawberries and legumes. Women should also look out for some pastas, breads and cereals which have labels indicating they have been fortified with extra folate. John Grounds, Action Research Director of Campaigns and Communications, says: ‘Studies have shown that folic acid has significant health benefits in helping protect against spina bifida, and increasing one’s intake is an easy and painless but important precautionary measure for mums-to-be and their babies.’ The British Sprout Growers Association has compiled a leaflet containing a selection of tasty recipes incorporating sprouts. To obtain a copy please write, enclosing a SAE, to the British Sprout Growers Association, 133 Eastgate, Louth, Lincolnshire, LN11 9QG. The work of Action Research has touched millions of lives across the UK by funding research projects at the cutting edge of medicine. For more details, including the folic acid campaign, visit the newly-launched website at www.action.org.uk For further information, please contact Nicole Duckworth or Duncan Barkes in the Action Research press office on 01403 327403/404 Fax: 01403 210541, or email nduckworth@action.org.uk or dbarkes@action.org.uk
Help us spread the word