Nutrient of the Week: Folate from Tabbouleh
Looking for a tasty salad that is easy to make, full of nutrients and can double as an hors d’oeuvre? Try tabbouleh – a classic middle eastern dish. One-half cup of fresh parsley, the main ingredient in this version of tabbouleh, provides approximately 46 micrograms of folate which is a little over 10% of the recommended dietary allowance for adults (age 19 and over) which is 400 micrograms/day.
What foods provide folate?
Other good vegetable sources of folate include spinach, boiled navy beans and avocado. Breakfast cereals fortified with folic acid are another good source. Folate, you say? Let me explain…
What does folate do for you?
Folate helps our cells make DNA and RNA so it is important for the formation of new cells. It also helps in the formation of hemoglobin in red blood cells along with vitamin B12 and may help prevent heart disease. If you don’t get enough folate you can have trouble with cell division and protein synthesis. Folate deficiency can also cause some types of anemia.
It is extremely important to have adequate folate if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant to avoid the risk of your baby’s developing spina bifida or other neural tube defects. In fact, the recommended dietary allowance for women who are pregnant is 600 micrograms/day and 500 micrograms/day for women who are breastfeeding.
What is Tabbouleh?
Traditionally tabbouleh is made with a few simple ingredients– parsley, bulgur wheat (sorry gluten-free fans), tomato, onion, peppers, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. You could make a gluten-free version by substituting plain brown rice or quinoa for the bulgur wheat, but the flavor will be a little different. I’ve also seen it made without the peppers, or with the addition of finely chopped carrots or cucumber — be creative and make it your own. For example, you might want to add a little fresh mint. All you do is wash the ingredients, chop and mix, and you’re done. When I’ve bought tabbouleh in the store it often contains far more bulgur wheat than parsley and is more of a starchy side dish than a salad. Just not the same — try this homemade version instead.
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