10 foods that are high in folic acid

Commonly known as vitamin B9, folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a vital role in many body functions. It promotes healthy cell division, DNA synthesis and repair, supports fetal growth and development, and reduces the risk of birth defects (1).

The recommended dietary allowance for folate is expressed as micrograms (mcg) of dietary folate equivalents (DFE). For a healthy adult, the recommended daily folate intake is 400 (mcg) (2).

In this article, we'll discuss the top 10 foods with folic acid, which you can add to your diet. So, let's get started.


1. Legumes

The term legume is an umbrella name for any plant in the Fabaceae family, such as peas, beans, and lentils. Legumes are rich in folate, but the amount varies from one plant to the other.

For example, one cup (177grams) of cooked beans contains 131 mcg of folic acid, while one cup (198 grams) of cooked lentils has about 358 mcg of folate (2, 3).

Adding legumes to your diet is an excellent way to boost your daily folate intake.


2. Leafy greens

Leafy greens such as arugula, kale, and spinach are another great source of folate, among other vitamins and minerals.

About 30 grams (one cup) of spinach contains 58.2 mcg of folate (4).

You can consume these superfoods either raw, cooked or in soups.


3. Asparagus

Asparagus is a source of many minerals and vitamins, among them folic acid. According to the USDA food data central, half a cup (90 grams) of cooked asparagus contains 134 mcg of folate (5).

Asparagus is also rich in heart-healthy fiber and has great antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.


4. Beets

Besides adding a touch of color to your dishes, beets also boast a rich concentration of vital nutrients such as folate manganese, vitamin C, and nitrates that are essential to your body.

If you consume one cup (136 grams) of raw beets, you'll get 148 mcg of folate (6).


5. Eggs

Eggs are another excellent source of folate in the body. They also contain many essential nutrients such as riboflavin, selenium, proteins, and vitamin B 12.

Consuming one large cooked or hard-boiled egg (50 grams) gives you 22 mcg of folate (7)


6. Citrus fruits

The flavorful citrus fruits such as limes, lemons, grapefruits, and oranges are also rich in vitamin B9 and vitamin C. A high intake of citrus fruits boosts immunity and helps in disease prevention.

If you consume one large orange (184 grams), you equip your body with 55.2 mcg of folate (8).


7. Seeds and nuts 

Seeds and nuts are excellent sources of minerals, vitamins, fiber, proteins, and other essential nutrients for your body. Adding a significant serving of nuts or seeds into your diet can increase your daily folate intake.

For example, if you consume one oz 14 halves (28 grams) of walnuts, you'll receive about 27.8 mcg of folate (9).

On the other hand, if you're into seeds, a single cup of whole flaxseeds (168 grams) gives you 146 mcg of folate (10)


8. Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are among the best foods with folic acid. They are closely related to kohlrabi, cabbages, broccoli, kale, and other vegetables.

When you eat half a cup (78 grams) of cooked Brussels sprouts, you'll get about 46.8 mcg of folic acid (11).

These nutritious vegetables are also rich in antioxidants and have great anti-inflammatory properties.


9. Beef liver

Including beef liver in your diet will ensure your body gets the right combination of proteins, vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy. It helps with tissue repairs and the production of different hormones and enzymes.

Beef liver contains copper, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and vitamin B9 (folate).

A three oz (85 grams) serving of cooked beef liver can supply your body with about 215 mcg of vitamin B9 (12).


10. Fortified Grains

You can also get a good dose of folic acid from fortified grains such as pasta and bread. Surprisingly, some studies have revealed that the body easily absorbs folic acid in fortified foods than the naturally occurring folate found in most foods. One such study showed that folate occurring naturally in foods is 80% as bioavailable as folic acid found in fortified foods (13).

Different fortified foods equip your body with varying amounts of folic acid. For example, if you consume one cup (140 grams) of cooked spaghetti, you'll get 99.4 mcg of folic acid (14).


Bottom Line

Folate is an essential nutrient in your body that you can easily get from the right combination of fruits, vegetables, and fortified foods.

Most of the foods discussed above are not only rich in folate but also contain other essential nutrients such as vitamin C, manganese, antioxidants, and nitrates, to mention a few that are vital for your body's general well being.

Add the above foods with folic acid into your diet, and you'll be good to go!

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