Everyone needs folic acid, but it’s especially important in women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, because it plays a major role in cellular growth and regeneration. A diet that’s high in folic acid can prevent certain types of anemia, and reduce neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Diets rich in folic acid may also reduce your lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and several types of cancer. Many foods contain plenty of folic acid, but which ones contain the most?
Serving Size (1/2 cup chopped), 52 micrograms of folic acid (13% DV), 26 calories.
A half cup of chopped broccoli gives you 52 micrograms of folic acid, or about 13% of what the average person should consume per day. Broccoli can be eaten raw or cooked. It makes a great addition to salads and pasta dishes, or you can add it as a side dish to compliment your favorite dinner.
Serving Size (1 cup), 249 micrograms of folic acid (74% DV), 245 calories.
Pinto beans are a popular type of bean for several reasons: they’re easy to find, inexpensive, versatile in preparation, and especially healthy. Add a cup of these nutrient-rich legumes to your plate each day and you’ll fill your body with nearly three-quarters of the recommended amount of folic acid for the day. Mashed cooked pinto beans taste great on tostadas or as a healthy dip.
Serving Size (1 ounce), 66.6 micrograms of folic acid (17% DV), 173 calories.
Sunflower seeds provide the body with beneficial fats and essential nutrients, including folic acid. A one-ounce serving provides nearly 20% of the recommended amount of folic acid for the day. Sunflower seeds also contain Vitamin E, which is essential for healthy skin and hair. They also make a tasty treat that’s easy to grab when you need a quick energy boost. Add to salads or make you own trail mix.
Serving Size (4 medium stalks), 89 micrograms of folic acid (22% DV), 13 calories.
Asparagus is a low-calorie veggie that has been used in traditional medicine for generations. Today, its health benefits are well-documented and widely renowned. Four stalks of asparagus contain 89 micrograms of folic acid, or about 22% of the daily value. In addition, to those watching their weight, asparagus is a particularly low calorie food choice. Asparagus also provides moderate levels of potassium, calcium, copper, and iron. Try them blanched and chilled for a refreshing snack.
Serving Size (1 tablespoon), 10.6 micrograms of folic acid (3% DV), 6 calories.
Dried herbs such as spearmint, rosemary, basil, thyme, and mint are adored for the fantastic flavor they bring to the kitchen. They’re also nutritional powerhouses, bringing essential vitamins and minerals to your body. A tablespoon of spearmint provides just over 10 micrograms of folic acid, or 3% of what the average person needs per day. Stir some spearmint in your water, tea, or lemonade for a minty refreshment, or add it to a fruity salad for a cool and delicious flavor.
Serving Size (1 avocado), 162.8 micrograms of folic acid (41% DV), 322 calories.
If you’re concerned about consuming sufficient folic acid, avocados are one of the best fruits you can eat. Eat a single avocado each day, and you’ll fulfill 41% of the daily recommended value of folic acid. Avocados are a nutrient-rich food that also provides your body with potassium, Vitamin C, and antioxidants. Guacamole is a quick and easy way to enjoy avocados.
Dry Roasted Soybeans
Serving Size (1/2 cup), 176.3 micrograms of folic acid (44% DV), 388 calories.
Soybeans are a super food that is packed with nutrients and minerals. A half cup of dry roasted soybeans contains 44% of the daily recommended value of folic acid, helping you reach your quota for the day while providing a healthy dose of antioxidants. High consumption of folic acid may also help prevent depression. Add to salads or eat as a snack.
Serving Size (1 cup), 19 micrograms of folic acid (2% DV), 6 calories.
Like other dark, leafy green vegetables, arugula is a nutritionally dense. It’s packed with calcium, Vitamin A, potassium, iron, and zinc. Add a cup of arugula to your salad and you’ll also benefit from 19 micrograms of folic acid. Make it an even more powerful salad by adding other fruits and veggies that are high in folic acid, such as broccoli and avocados. Arugula is even tasty on top of pizza or added to pasta.
Serving Size (1/2 cup), 105.9 micrograms of folic acid (26.5% DV), 427 calories.
Peanuts are often associated with sporting events or as bar snacks, but you might be surprised to learn that they’re rich in folic acid and other nutrients. A half cup of peanuts is filled with just under 106 micrograms of folic acid, or just over a quarter of your daily requirements. Peanuts are also a great source of zinc, protein, magnesium, and copper. Try peanut butter on apples, celery or add to smoothies.
Serving Size (1/2 cup), 104.8 micrograms of folic acid (26% DV), 80 calories.
Enjoy half a cup of black-eyed peas by cooking them with rice, pork, shallots, spinach, or some simple spices. However you decide to cook them, you’re certain to enjoy the many health benefits they provide. A half-cup serving contains over 104 micrograms of folic acid, enough to help you reach 26% of the recommended daily value.
Serving Size (1 medium banana), 23.6 micrograms of folic acid (6% DV), 105 calories.
One medium-sized banana contains about 6% of the daily recommended value of folic acid. Grabbing a banana as a quick snack can be a great way to get that last little bit of folic acid into your diet for the day. Bananas are also high in potassium, protein, and fiber. Add slices to your morning cereal or try with peanut butter for a protein rich bite.
Serving Size (6 fluid ounces), 36.4 micrograms of folic acid (9% DV), 31 calories.
A six-ounce serving of tomato juice provides 36 micrograms of folic acid, or 9% of the daily value. If the taste leaves something to be desired, try spicing things up with Tabasco sauce or a pinch of pepper.
Serving Size (1 teaspoon), 2.1 micrograms of folic acid (1% DV), 6 calories.
A pinch of chili powder adds a zing of flavor to many dishes. Plus, it’s a surprising source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and even folic acid. A teaspoon of this powerful spice contains 2 micrograms of folic acid. Add a little bit of chili powder to your meals, and you’ll be doing your body (and your taste buds) a real service!
Serving Size (1 small papaya), 57.8 micrograms of folic acid (14% DV), 59 calories.
Papaya is a colorful, tropical fruit that’s as rich in nutrients as it is in flavor – and they’re packed with antioxidants. These fruits work well both in savory dishes and as dessert. Regardless of when and how you eat them, your body will enjoy a boost in nutrients, including folic acid. Papayas are also a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, and potassium.
Serving Size (1 small orange), 28.8 micrograms of folic acid (7% DV), 45 calories.
There are many reasons besides Vitamin C to make oranges a part of your diet. Oranges are a viable source of folic acid, with about 29 micrograms in a single small orange. Fresh-squeezed orange juice is always an option, but consuming the fruit itself provides the most health benefits.
Serving Size (1 tablespoon), 7.8 micrograms of folic acid (3% DV), 48 calories.
It’s easy to add a tablespoon of flaxseed to your diet each day. The health benefits make it well worth the effort. A tablespoon provides 3% of the recommended amount of folic acid. Flaxseed is also a good source of fiber, Vitamin E, and cancer-preventing lignans. Many nutritionists recommended consuming between one and two tablespoons of flaxseed a day. Try it in oatmeal, smoothies, stir in yogurt or sprinkle on toast with jelly.