It’s important to get adequate amounts of folic acid in the diet for a variety of health reasons, both physical and mental, but mostly for cellular growth and regeneration. In fact, a recent article from the New York Times named folic acid one of the most “luscious micronutrients” found in foods, and multiple studies suggest that a lack of folic acid may lead to mental conditions such as depression.
Physiologically, consuming enough folic acid allows the body to perform many of its essential functions, including nucleotide biosynthesis in cells, DNA synthesis and repair, red blood cell creation, and also helps to prevent anemia. Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, is perhaps most well known for its applications in the prevention of fetal deformities, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as several types of cancer. The good news is that there are many rich sources of folic acid that are easy to incorporate into your daily diet.
List of Foods with Folic Acid
The following list will discuss the top ten foods with folic acid. Of course, organic is best (especially if you are pregnant!).
1. Dark Leafy Greens
It should come as no surprise that one of the planet’s healthiest foods is also one of the highest in folate. For an immediate boost in folic acid, consider adding more spinach, collard greens, kale, turnip greens and romaine lettuce into your daily diet. Just one large plate of these delicious leafy greens can provide you with almost all of your daily needs for folic acid.
Below is a short list of leafy greens that are high in folic acid.
- Spinach – 1 cup = 263 mcg of folate (65% DV)
- Collard Greens – 1 cup = 177 mcg of folate (44% DV)
- Turnip Greens – 1 cup = 170 mcg of folate (42% DV)
- Mustard Greens – 1 cup = 103 mcg of folate (26% DV)
- Romaine Lettuce – 1 cup = 76 mcg of folate (19% DV)
This woody treat is perhaps the most nutrient dense foods with folic acid out of the entire vegetable kingdom. Eating just one cup of boiled asparagus will give you 262 mcg of folic acid, which accounts for approximately 65% of your daily needs. Not only is asparagus a delicious snack, but it’s also full of nutrients your body craves, including Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Manganese.
Not only is broccoli one of the best detox foods you can eat, it’s also a great source for folic acid. Eating just one cup of broccoli will provide you with approximately 24% of your daily folic acid needs, not to mention a whole host of other important nutrients. We recommend eating organic broccoli raw or lightly steamed.
4. Citrus Fruits
Many fruits contain folic acid, but citrus fruits rank the highest. Oranges are an especially rich source of folic acid. One orange holds about 50 mcg, and a large glass of juice may contain even more. Other folate-rich fruits include papaya, grapefruit, grapes, banana, cantaloupe and strawberries. Here is a short list of fruits high in folic acid.
- Papaya – One papaya = 115 mcg of folate (29% DV)
- Oranges – One orange = 40 mcg of folate (10% DV)
- Grapefruit – One grapefruit = 30 mcg of folate (8% DV)
- Strawberries – 1 cup = 25 mcg of folate (6.5% DV)
- Raspberries – 1 cup = 14 mcg of folate (4% DV)
5. Beans, Peas & Lentils
Beans and pulses especially high in folic acid include pinto beans, lima beans, green peas, black-eyed peas and kidney beans. Similarly, a small bowl of any type of lentils will give you the majority of your recommended daily amounts for folate. Here is a short list of how much which beans have the most folic acid.
- Lentils – 1 cup = 358 mcg of folate (90% DV)
- Pinto Beans – 1 cup = 294 mcg of folate (74% DV)
- Garbanzo Beans – 1 cup = 282 mcg of folate (71% DV)
- Black Beans – 1 cup = 256 mcg of folate (64% DV)
- Navy Beans – 1 cup = 254 mcg of folate (64% DV)
- Kidney Beans – 1 cup = 229 mcg of folate (57% DV)
- Lima Beans – 1 cup = 156 mcg of folate (39% DV)
- Split Peas – 1 cup = 127 mcg of folate (32% DV)
- Green Peas – 1 cup = 101 mcg of folate (25% DV)
- Green Beans – 1 cup = 42 mcg of folate (10% DV)
The most beloved vegetable of Mexican fare, the buttery avocado holds up to 90mcg of folate per cup, which accounts for appoximately 22% of your daily needs. Not only are avocados one of the best foods with folic acid, but it’s also an excellent source of fatty acids, vitamin K and dietary fiber. Adding them to sandwiches or salads will make for an extra-healthy treat.
The world’s slimiest veggie is also one of the most nutrient rich. Okra has the distinct ability to simultaneously offer vitamins and minerals while cleansing the entire digestive tract from toxic build-up. When it comes to folate, Okra is a great source. Just one cup of cooked okra will give you approximately 37 mcg of folic acid.