Before we directly jump on to the topic is “16 foods that are high in Folate (Folic Acid) – Vitamin B9”, first let’s know what is folate?
What is Folate?
Folate is an essential nutritional part of a healthy diet.
Folate is a water-soluble Vitamin B9 from the Vitamin B complex family.
The human body cannot produce folate (folic acid) or Vitamin B9 so it should be taken from outside sources such as plant sources (e.g., kale, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, etc.) or animal sources (e.g., liver, eggs, seafood, etc.).
The main role of folate is to remove excessive homocysteine from the blood and is beneficial to heart patients by preventing the harmful effect of homocysteine. (1)
Folate is also known as Folic acid.
There are mainly two types of folates or folic acid. One is naturally occurring folate in the body and the second is a synthetic form of folate found in folate supplements, folic acid supplements, or folate fortified foods.
According to NIH (National Institutes of Health), the daily dietary requirement of the folate or folic acid for healthy adult males & adult females is 400 mcg folate per day and during pregnancy, it is 500 mcg folate per day and for lactating mothers, it is 600 mcg folate per day.
Folate also plays an important role to produce healthy red blood cells (RBCs) in the body and pregnancy folate helps in better growth of the fetus. (2)
This article describes foods that are high in Folate (Folic Acid) – Vitamin B9.
Some of the foods that are high in folate (folic acid) – vitamin B9 are green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, asparagus, some beans and legumes, liver, eggs, yeast and folate fortified foods such as bread, cereals, pasta, etc.
Summary Folate, a water soluble Vitamin B9, is an essential nutritional part of a healthy diet. Folate is not produced by Human, hence you should eat kale, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, liver, eggs, seafood, to reach daily required amount of Folate. Folate removes excessive Homocysteine from the blood, and produces healthy Red Blood Cells (RBCs) and helps in better growth of fetus.
So, here are the 16 foods that are high in Folate (Folic Acid) – Vitamin B9.
Legumes are from the Leguminosae family and are the richest source of protein, vitamins and minerals.
Commonly consumed legumes are alfalfa, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, french beans, lentils, mung beans, cowpeas, peanuts, peas, soybeans, clovers, pigeon peas etc. (14)
According to the USDA National Nutrient database,
Cowpeas contain 639 micrograms of folate per 100 g of servings.
Mung beans contain 625 micrograms of folate per 100 g of servings.
Chickpeas contain 557 micrograms of folate per 100 g of servings.
Lentil contains 479 micrograms of folate per 100 g of servings.
Black beans contain 444 micrograms of folate per 100 g of servings.
French beans contain 399 micrograms of folate per 100 g of servings.
Red kidney beans contain 394 micrograms of folate per 100 g of servings.
Peas contain 274 micrograms of folate per 100 g of servings.
Pigeon peas contain 173 micrograms of folate per 100 g of servings.
Kale is considered a good source of folic acid.
Kale contains 29 mg of folate or folic acid for a serving of 100 g of kale. (5)
Along with Folate (Vitamin B9), kale also contains Thiamine (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Niacin (Vitamin B3), and Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxal (Vitamin B6), and Biotin (Vitamin B7). (5)
Kale contains a high amount of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, too.
Green leafy vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet.
This type of healthy diet reduces the risk of heart diseases and cancer.
Spinach is a great source of folate or vitamin B9.
Daily consumption of 20 g of spinach for 3 weeks significantly increased the folate level in the blood. (6)
The high content of folate in asparagus increases the additional value of your diet.
Eating asparagus during pregnancy helps in fetal development.
100 g of cooked asparagus delivers 149 micrograms of folate. (7)
The world’s largest production of asparagus is from China, US, Peru and Mexico. (8)
Asparagus is a rich source of numerous vitamins such as Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B9, Vitamin C, Vitamin E & Vitamin K.
Asparagus is also the source of minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, sodium, selenium and zinc.
5. Brussels sprouts
Other cruciferous family vegetables are broccoli, cauliflower, radish, kale, watercress and cabbage. (9)
Brussels sprouts are a good source of folate and vitamin C.
Along with folate and vitamin C, brussels sprouts are a good source of dietary fibres.
It is a great source of folate.
Broccoli is known for its health benefits due to its high sulforaphane content and antioxidants property & having multiple vitamins reduces the risk of cancer, mainly colon cancer and lung cancer, improves eye health, and protects skin from free radicals. (13)
According to FoodData Central, 100 g of raw broccoli contains 65 micrograms of folate, whereas 100 g of cooked broccoli contains 54 micrograms of folate.
Peanuts are the legumes and we have already covered them under Legumes, but still, we add them here, because peanuts are healthful snacks.
They are a part of your life and are consumed at any time everywhere in the world.
Peanuts are consumed in the form of, boiled peanuts, roasted peanuts, butter made with peanuts, edible oil extracted from peanuts, added to snacks packets, chocolates such as snickers, fuse, etc., and energy bars. (14)
1 cup (146 g) of peanuts has 142 micrograms of folate. (15)
Along with vitamin B9, peanuts are also the source of various vitamin B families such as vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, & B6, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K & vitamin C.
8. Sunflower Seeds
For a healthier life, you need to consume healthy food.
100 g of sunflower seeds contain 237 micrograms of folate, whereas 1 cup (46 g) of sunflower seeds contains 109 micrograms of folate. (17)
9. Tropical Fruits
Tropical fruits or exotic fruits are a good source of folate.
Popular tropical fruits are banana, pineapple, kiwi, dragon fruit (pitaya), yellow passion fruit, mango, jack fruit, durian, etc.
Mango, a very popular exotic fruit from India, contains a good amount of folate. 1 mango (210 g) contains 90.3 micrograms of folate. (19)
Whole guava (unpeeled) contains 92 micrograms of folate per 100 g of servings. You might be surprised but yeah guava peel has a higher amount of folate compared to guava pulp. (20)
Papaya contains 37 micrograms of folate per 100 g of servings.
Jack fruit from India contains approx. 85 micrograms of folate per 100 g of servings. (20)
Three varieties of dragon fruit (pitaya), one is red dragon fruit, the second one is white dragon fruit and the third one is yellow dragon fruit contains folate ranging from 19 micrograms to 36 micrograms of folate per 100 g of serving dragon fruit (pitaya). Still, not many pieces of evidence are there on folate content in dragon fruit (pitaya).
Yellow passion fruit contains the highest amount of folate which is approx. 270 micrograms of folate per serving of 100 g yellow passion fruit. (20)
So, what are you waiting for? Start eating these tropical fruits that are listed among the foods that are high in folate.
10. Folate fortified grains
Neural tube defects (NTDs), one of the complications during pregnancy can be prevented by fulfilling the daily requirement of folate.
Hence, to prevent incidences of Neural tube defects (NTDs), US Foods & FDA in 1998, mandated adding 140 micrograms of folate per 100 g into the whole grains.
Later on, these values were various from country to country ranging from 150 micrograms to 220 micrograms of folate per 100 g of whole grains products such as white bread, whole wheat bread, pasta, etc. (21)
100 g of whole oat grains contain 35 micrograms of folate. (22)
The liver is the only organ of the body that stores folate.
Those who are on a non-vegetarian diet can consume the liver of different animals.
Chicken liver, beef liver and turkey liver are good sources of folate. (23)
According to USDA (2018) reference data sheet,
Chicken liver contains 588 micrograms of folate per 100 g of serving.
Beef liver contains 290 micrograms of folate per 100 g of serving.
Turkey liver contains 677 micrograms of folate per 100 g of serving.
Adding eggs to your healthy diet along with some other folate providing foods, you can reach your daily dietary requirement of folate.
Eggs are a great source of essential nutrients and vitamins.
Along with various vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E & K, vitamin B1, B2, B6, B9 & B12, eggs are a good source of protein and fat and some minerals like calcium, phosphorous, selenium, etc. (24)
According to FoodData Central, 1 large (50 g) fresh whole raw egg contains 23.5 micrograms of folate.
Seafood is also a good source of folate (vitamin B9).
The flesh of Atlantic salmon, European hake, and sardine fish contains 10 micrograms, 27 micrograms and 24 micrograms of folate per 100 g of serving respectively. (25)
It is also a great source of vitamin B12.
Being natural colouring food, red beets are also a good source of various vitamins and nutrients.
1 cup of raw beets (136 g) contains 148 micrograms of folate. (27)
Red beets are a good source of antioxidants and help against various heart diseases and cancer.
Along with antioxidants properties, beets have anti-cancerous, anti-bacterial, anti-depressant, anti-hypertensive and anti-inflammatory properties.
The red colour in beets is due to the presence of betalains same as dragon fruit.
15. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are a good source of a variety of vitamins, minerals, fibres, and phytochemicals such as carotenoids, flavonoids, limonoids, etc. which makes citrus fruits a healthier source.
Popular citrus fruits are sweet and sour oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes, grapefruit and pummelos and are an excellent source of vitamin C and rich in folate.
100 g oranges, grapefruit, and lemons/limes contain 30 micrograms, 13 micrograms, and 11 to 16 micrograms of folate respectively. (28)
Citrus fruits can deliver up to 10% to 20% RDA of folate in adults.
Avocados are known as “The Green Gold” and are popular worldwide for their high nutritional values, unique taste, creamy texture and healthy oil.
3.5 ounces or 100 g of Avocado contains vitamin K (26% of DV), folate (20% of DV), vitamin C (17% of DV), Vitamin B6 (13% of DV), & vitamin E (10% of DV). (29)
1 raw California avocado without skin & seed (136 g) can deliver 121 micrograms of folate. (30)
1 raw Florida avocado without skin & seed (304 g) contains 106 micrograms of folate. (31)
So, with avocado, our list of 16 foods that are high in folate ends.
What happens if your folic acid is low?
Folic acid is used by the body for a variety of vital processes, including nervous system health. Excessive fatigue, a lack of energy, paraesthesia, a sore and red tongue, mouth ulcers, distorted vision, and issues with memory, understanding, and judgment can all result from a lack of these. Severe deficiencies can also cause anemia in the body.
What is Folate Toxicity?
It is highly uncommon to achieve a toxic level when consuming folate through food sources. The recommended daily intake of folic acid is up to 1,000 micrograms, however, studies have shown that larger doses may lead to Folate toxicity.
What are the daily recommended Folic acid doses?
|Birth to 6 months||65 mcg DFE|
|7–12 months||80 mcg DFE|
|1–3 years||150 mcg DFE|
|9–13 years||300 mcg DFE|
|14–18 years||400 mcg DFE|
|19+ years||400 mcg DFE|
Folate (folic acid or vitamin B9) is a water-soluble vitamin, part of the vitamin B family and cannot be produced by the human body.
Folate is an essential nutritional part that our body needs, so folate must be included in your daily healthy diet.
The daily dietary requirement of the folate for healthy adult males & adult females is 400 mcg folate per day and during pregnancy, it is 500 mcg folate per day and for lactating mothers, it is 600 mcg folate per day.
We tried out our best to list 16 foods that are high in folate starting from legumes to avocado that can fulfil your daily dietary requirement for the folate.
Hope you like our deep researched list of 16 foods that are high in folate.