Grains may also be consumed in their enriched, or white flour, form. About 95 percent of the white flour in the U.S. is enriched. That means the three major B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin and niacin as well as iron are added back in the same proportion as is found in the whole kernel. In fact, enriched grains contain twice the amount of folic acid than their whole grain counterparts.
The Importance of Folic Acid
Folic acid is well known for its role in preventing birth defects. In fact, the Spina Bifida Association urges all women of childbearing age to consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily beginning before pregnancy and through the early months of pregnancy as part of a healthful diet. Bread, crackers, bagels, pasta, pretzels and tortillas made from enriched white flour are great sources of folic acid.
Some studies show that folic acid also helps improve memory function and has recently been linked to decreasing the risk of Alzheimer's disease as well as coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension and even cancer.
Food & Folic Acid: What Every Woman Should Know
To raise awareness about the key role enriched grains play in preventing neural tube defects, the Grain Foods Foundation teamed up with the Spina Bifida Association to develop this informational video on folic acid. It was created for SBA's Spina Bifida University, a free online educational experience which covers a wide variety of topics of importance to health professionals and members of the Spina Bifida community.