Folic acid is a man-made (synthetic) form of folate that is found in supplements and is added to fortified foods. This essential nutrient is required for synthesizing and repairing DNA, to produce red blood cells and for regulating cell metabolism.
Folic acid, along with Vitamin B12 and Vitamin C, helps to break down, use and create new protein molecules. Diet rich in folic acid can prevent anemia, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diarrhea, weakness and birth defects. (Image 1)
Folic acid is very important during pregnancy, as it plays a major role in cellular regeneration and proper fetal development. Taking the right amount of folic acid before and during pregnancy helps to prevent neural tube defects (NTD), abnormalities of the brain and spinal bifida. It also plays an important role in a child’s normal development.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for folic acid is:
0 to 6 months, 65 micrograms per day.
7 to 12 months, 80 micrograms per day.
1 to 3 years, 150 micrograms per day.
4 to 8 years, 200 micrograms per day.
9 to 13 years, 300 micrograms per day
14 to 18 years, 400 micrograms per day.
Adult men and women require 400 micrograms per day.
Pregnant and lactating mothers require 600 micrograms per day.
Folic Acid Foods Sources:
Since your body can’t produce folic acid on its own, you need to consume folic acid rich foods. Folic acid is a water soluble vitamin. There is no fear of overdose of folic acid, as the excess amount is excreted through urine. Fortunately, there are many foods rich in folic acid, which you can incorporate in your diet. Below is the list of 25 foods rich in folic acid.
Not only is broccoli one of the best detoxifying foods, but also a great source of folic acid. A half cup of broccoli provides 52 micrograms of folic acid, or 13% of the daily folic acid requirement. Broccoli is best consumed raw or steamed. You can also add broccoli to your pasta, pizza and salads to enhance the flavor of your dishes. This nutrient dense, cruciferous super-food is also a good source of vitamin c, fiber, calcium, iron and soluble fiber.
2. Pinto Beans:
This legume is quite versatile and you can incorporate it easily in your rice and meat delicacies. Include a cup of pinto beans in your daily diet which will provide you with three-quarters of the recommended amount of folic acid for the day. A single serving will provide you with 250 micrograms of folic acid and 245 calories.
[ Read: Folic Acid For Hair Growth ]
3. Seeds and Nuts:
Seeds like sunflower seeds, almonds, flax seeds and peanuts supply the beneficial fats and nutrients, including folic acid. You can eat the seeds raw, sprouted or sprinkled onto a salad for a healthy dose of folic acid.
1 cup of almond contains 46 micrograms of folic acid. One ounce serving of sunflower seeds will provide you with 67 micrograms of folic acid, approximately, 18% of your daily requirement. It also contains a decent amount of Vitamin E, which is required for healthy skin and hair.
Besides munching them as a quick snack in between meals, sunflower seeds can also be added to granola bars and cereals for some extra crunch, or can also be baked with cakes and cookies for a nutty taste.
Peanut is another amazing folic acid foods. A mere half cup of peanuts is filled with 106 micrograms of folic acid and 427 calories. A single tablespoon of flax seeds provides 8 micrograms of folic acid, amounting to 2% of the daily required amount. Flax seeds also play an important role in the body’s ability to grow and regenerate healthy cells. Nutritionists recommend consuming one to two teaspoons of flax seeds daily.
This woody treat is perhaps the most nutrient dense foods, with the highest folic acid content, in the entire vegetable kingdom. Eating one cup of boiled asparagus will give you 260 micrograms of folic acid, which accounts for 65% of the daily value. This delicious vegetable also provides a decent amount of potassium, manganese, copper, calcium and iron. Look for firm, fresh spears, with closed and compact tips.
5. Yeast Extract Spread:
Yeast spread has a strong and slightly salty taste. This spread is commonly used on toast, sandwiches and crackers. A little of this spread will go a long way, as it is quite strong in taste and thin in consistency. 1 teaspoon of yeast spread will give you around 60 micrograms of folic acid and 9 calories.
Liver of turkey and chicken is the best source of folic acid. 100 grams of turkey liver contains more than 120% of the recommended allowances of folic acid and 3.4 ounces of chicken liver has about 193% of your daily folic acid requirement, but eat liver in moderation, as it is high in cholesterol and saturated fats.
Dried Herbs like rosemary, basil, spearmint, thyme and coriander contain essential vitamins and minerals required for the proper body functioning. Dried spearmint is the best of all herbs in folic acid. One tablespoon provides 10 micrograms of folic acid, i.e. 3% of what an average person needs per day. Stir a tsp of spearmint in water, tea, lemonade for minty refreshment or add it to your salad for a delicious treat.
Avocado is the best fruit you can binge on, to get your daily folic acid requirement. A single avocado will provide you with 174 micrograms of folic acid, fulfilling 41% of your daily recommended allowance. This nutrient rich food provides you with potassium, vitamin C and anti-oxidants. Add this to your salads and sandwiches for a healthy treat.
Soybeans are super-food, packed with several health friendly nutrients and minerals like potassium, calcium and folic acid. Half cup of soybean provides you with 177 micrograms of folic acid, almost half of your total daily requirement. Soybeans also promote the health of heart and cells.
Arugula comes packed with calcium, vitamin A, iron and zinc. Add a cup of arugula to your diet to enjoy the benefit of 19 micrograms of folic acid. You can also add arugula to your salads, with other healthy vegetables like broccoli and avocado, to pump up folic levels in your body.
11. Black-eyed Peas:
One half-cup serving of black-eyed peas contains over 105 micrograms of folic acid, enough to account for 26% of the daily recommended value. You can cook black-eyed peas with rice, meat, shallots and spinach, by adding some spices. The best cooking methods to preserve the nutrition of black-eyed peas are boiling and steaming.
A medium-sized banana contains 24 micrograms of folic acid and 105 calories. Grab a banana for a quick snack to add folic acid in your diet. Bananas are also high in dietary fiber, potassium, protein and iron.
13. Tomato Juice:
A serving of tomato juice is a healthy and tasty way to get your daily folic acid requirement. A six ounce serving of tomato juice will provide you with 36 micrograms of folic acid, 9% of the daily value. You can also add tabasco sauce or some other spice to enhance the taste of your juice.
14. Chili Powder:
Half a teaspoon of chili powder can add a wonderful flavor to any of the dishes. It is also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and folic acid. A tsp of this spice contains 2 micrograms of folic acid.
[ Read: Side Effects Of Folic Acid ]
Papaya is a tropical fruit, rich in nutrients like, Vitamin A and C, potassium and folic acid. One small papaya will provide your body with 58 micrograms of folic acid. Papaya works well in both savory and desserts. So eat 3 slices of papaya daily to get a boost of nutrients in your body.
16. Citrus Fruits:
Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, strawberries and raspberries are viable sources of folic acid. Having a medium sized orange can provide around 50 micrograms, almost 1/5 of your total daily need. Ready-made juices are also fortified with folate, so read the label carefully to make sure that they are fortified with substantial amount of folate. 1 cup of strawberries and raspberries provide around 20 micrograms of folic acid.
17. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables:
Leafy vegetables are packed with loads of essential vitamins like minerals, phytonutrients and powerful antioxidants which help to fight against cancer. Dark leafy vegetables have a high level of folic acid content when compared with other vegetables.
For an immediate boost in folic acid levels, consider including more spinach, collard greens, kale, romaine lettuce and turnip greens into your daily diet. A large plate of these delicious veggies will provide you with almost all of your daily need for folic acid.
1 cup of spinach provides 265 micrograms of folic acid, 1 cup of collard greens provides 177 micrograms, 1 cup of turnip green provides 170 micrograms and 1 cup of Romaine lettuce provides 76 micrograms of folic acid. Do not overcook the vegetables, as overcooking can significantly reduce folate content in your food.
18. Fortified Cereals:
Food producers often enhance the nutritional value of their products with proteins, vitamins and other nutrients. Most of the fortified cereals supply a whopping 100 to 400 micrograms of folic acid per serving. While buying cereals, look for at least 35% of the daily value on the nutritional label.
Cooked Lentils is another amazing food containing folic acid, a pregnant lady can include in her pre-natal diet. A small bowl of lentils will give the majority of your recommended daily amount of folic acid. 1 cup of lentils provides you with 360 micrograms of folic acid. Lentils are also packed with other nutrients like iron, protein, fiber and are very low in fat, which makes it the best substitute for meat.
This slim, green vegetable is a one of the most nutritious folic acid rich foods. Okra has a distinct ability to offer minerals and vitamins while cleansing the entire digestive tract from toxic build-up. A cup of cooked okra will give you approximately, 37 micrograms of folic acid.
Brussels might not be the tastiest vegetable around, but there is no denying that Brussels is one of the best foods rich in folic acid. Eating a cup of Brussels will provide you with approximately 25% of your daily recommended amount. It is also high in Vitamin A, C and K, potassium, manganese and magnesium.
Eating one cup cauliflower will provide you with approximately 55 micrograms of folic acid, accounting for 14% of your recommended daily value. Cauliflower is regarded as one of the best vitamin c rich foods. You can cook cauliflower as a side dish or can prepare as a salad with other folate rich foods, to increase the levels of folic acid in your body.
Beets are a great source of antioxidants and provide detoxification support, making it one of the best liver cleansing foods. Besides, beets are also an amazing source of folic acid foods. One cup of boiled beets provides you with 136 micrograms of folic acid.
This popular vegetable contains plenty of folate. One cup of cooked corn will give you 76 micrograms of folic acid, accounting for 20% of your daily requirement. Always opt for fresh and organic veggies rather than canned ones.
Carrot is a popular and versatile vegetable, which you can incorporate in most of the rice and vegetable preparations. One cup of raw carrot will give almost 5% of your daily folic need. Eat carrot as a snack, or add to your salads for a folic acid boost.
Folic acid is very important for your health and overall well-being. Therefore do not ignore it, but rather incorporate the above-mentioned foods rich in folic acid to your diet. Hope you liked the article. Please leave your comments below.