Folate or Folic acid is very important for the proper functioning of the body. It is one of the B vitamins that you cannot do without. For pregnant women, adequate amounts of this vitamin is a must for a healthy pregnancy. It is vital during the prenatal stage for a number of reasons. These include:
- Helping in lowering the chance of brain and heart defects in your baby
- Reducing the risk of birth defects, such as cleft lip and cleft palate
- Production, repair, and normal funtioning of DNA
- Healthy placental growth and development of the fetus
- Production of red blood cells in your body
What is Folate?
Folate is naturally occurring form of vitamin B9 and its name is derived from Latin word “folium”, which means leaf. In fact, leafy vegetables are rich source for folate. When you eat foods with folate, it is converted into 5-MTHF (5-methyltetrahydrofolate ) before entering bloodstream. But folic acid is synthetic type of vitamin B9. It is also known as pteroylmonoglutamic acid.
What is the recommended daily dosage of folic acid?
Making sure you get adequate amount of folic acid is very important. For this, you will need to know the recommended daily dosage. Generally you should include a minimum of 400 micrograms of folic acid in your daily diet.
During pregnancy you can increase the dosage to at least 600 micrograms. This will help prepare your body for the pregnancy. It wll also reduce the chances of birth defects in your baby.
Talk to your doctor to know your specific requirement. In certain cases, you may be needed to take greater than the regular dosage. One of these cases is obesity. Women who are obese require higher dosage of folic acid.
What are the foods rich in folate?
Now you know about the benefits of folate. So, you must be wondering which foods are rich in this nutrient. Look no further. We have listed below the top 27 foods that are rich in folate. You can find these easily in the markets. They can become a part of your everyday diet.
Top 27 Foods High in Folic acid
This latest food trend is packed with folate. It is great for people who are on special diets. With only 3/4 cup of quinoa, you can get 78 mcg folate. This means you can easily meet 19% of your daily need with only 3/4 cup.
It is ideal for pregnant women. This is because it is loaded with essential fatty acids. They are also a rich source of important amino acids. These are very important for a smooth and healthy pregnancy. There are a number of recipes that are available today that make use of quinoua.
You can add it to salads, sides, and even soups. It is a delicious way of making sure you get enough folate in your body.
These are excellent sources of folate. It has high contents of folate and can also be safely consumed during pregnancy. Research has shown that 1 cup of lentils can contain up to 358 mcg of folate. This meets almost 90% of the recommended daily dosage. During pregnancy, this can be a good addition to your diet along with the prenatal supplements you are taking.
It is one of the riches sources of folate. Including different types of animal livers such as chicken liver, lamb and veal livers, and turkey liver. You can also find valuable amounts in cooked pork and beef livers. Of these, turkey liver has the highest folate content. It contains a whooping 691 mcg of folate. This makes it one of the super foods for folate to include during pregnancy. Chicken liver is also an excellent source.
Dark Leafy Greens
Including dark leafy greens in your daily diet is an excellent choice. These are excellent sources of folate. Here are some of the best choices for you to pick from:
- Spinach – 263 mcg
- Collard greens – 177 mcg
- Mustard greens – 103 mcg
- Turnip greens – 170 mcg
- Romain lettuce – 76 mcg
All values are given per 1 cup serving. Including a variety of these types of greens in your diet is a good way to ensure folate intake. Apart from being rich sources of folate, these are also great storehouses of essential minerals and vitamins.
Beans are an amazing source of folate. Some of the beans that can be consumed for folate are navy beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, and lima beans. These are especially good for pregnant women. Here are some of the beans with high folate content:
- Pinto beans – 294 mcg
- garbanzo beans – 282 mcg
- black beans – 256 mcg
- navy beans – 254 mcg
- kidney beans – 229 mcg
- lima beans – 156 mcg
- Green beans – 42 mcg
All values are given per 1 cup serving. Prenatal consumption of beans can help you meet your daily recommended dosage of folate.
There are many health benefits of having beets. One of these is it’s rich reserve of folate. 1 cup of boiled beets will give you about 136 mcg of folate. It is especially good to include in your diet if you are pregnant. Beets is also a good source of essential minerals and antioxidants. It is also a good detoxification ingredient.
Asparagus is rich in nutrients. 1 cup of boiled asparagus can help provide about 65% of what you need daily. You can get about 262 mcg of folate from 1 cup of bolied asparagus. It can be an invaluable addition to your prenatal diet.
Apart from being a rich source of folate, asparagus is also abundant in other essential nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamins C, A, and K. There is also good amounts of manganese present in this vegetable.
Certain brands of breakfast cereals come with rich folate benefits. You can get between 100 to 400 mcg of folate in each cup. Check the label of the different brans to know how much folate you can get from it.
Besides being fortified with folate, breakfast cereals are also a great source of dietary fiber. This helps in promoting healthy bowel movement. This is especially helpful during pregnancy to fight against constipation. You can choose from one of the many organic brands available for additional health benefits.
Just like cereals, cooked white rice is also a good source of folate. 1 cup of cooked white rice can provide approximately 170 mcg of folate. This is about 24% of your recommended daily value.
Having cooked white rice can help your body meet the required amount of dietary folates. It is also a great source of other essential minerals and vitamins.
Broccoli is packed with nutrients. That is why it is one of the most trusted sources of essential vitamins and minerals for you. It is also rich in folate. It’s antioxidant properties along with rich reserves of folate makes it a must have in your diet during pregnancy. 100 g of broccoli can give you 63 mg folate.
To preserve the maximum original content of folate in broccoli you should eat it lightly steamed. Buy organic broccoli to make sure there are no harmful chemicals present.
Avocado is very popular these days. You can find use of this in many recipes. This is because avocado is a powerhouse of nutrients. It contains high amounts of folate. You can get almost 90 mcg of folate from 1 cup.
Including avocados in your diet is easy. It can be added to smoothies, salads, and dips. It is absolutely safe to consume during pregnancy. Avocados are also a good source of other nutrients that are essential for your body.
Nuts and seeds
Adding nuts and seeds to your diet is a good way to ensure adequate folate intake. Peanuts, one of the most commonly consumed nuts by us, is a very rich source of folate. You can get about 88 mcg of folate from 1/4 cup of peanuts. This meets about 22% of the requirement. 1 cup almond can fulfill around 12% of the daily value (46 mcg).
Seeds are also a good way to include folate in your diet. 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds contain about 54 mcg of folate. Sunflower seeds are another option. You can get about 82 mcg folic from 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds.
During pregnancy, it is best to consult your doctor before adding nuts and seeds to your diet. For those having known case of allergies, it should be strictly avoided.
Parsley is an aromatic herb that is used in numerous recipes. It is definitely one of the herbs that you should include in your kitchen. It is also excellent in providing folate. Half a cup of parsley can provide you with 46 mcg of folate.
Citrus fruits are the best source of folate among fruits. 1 whole orange can give you as much as 50 mcg of folate. 1 glass of fresh orange juice wwill have much more. Other fruits that contain high reserves of folate include:
Apart from their folate content, fruits are also excellent for providing fiber and essential minerals to your body. They are also rich in antioxidants.
As mentioned above, strawberries are an excellent source of folate. 1 cup of fresh strawberries can help give you about 35 mcg of folate. This comes to about 9% of the total daily value. It is a delicious fruit and can be easily added to your diet. Buy fresh and organic strawberries for best results. You can easily add it to shakes, smoothies, yogurt, and desserts.
Bananas are very important for you to help increase folate intake. A banana can help meet 6% of your daily need of folate. This, in addition to being a good source of fiber, makes banana one of the must have fruits in your diet. Besides, they are also rich in potassium and protein.
1 cup of cooked corn contains about 76 mcg of folate. This helps meet almost 20% of the daily value. However, it is best to avoid canned corns. Instead you can buy organic corn for maximum benefits.
Corn is also good for dietary fiber. That is why it is advised to be included in your diet during pregnancy. Including corn in your pregnancy diet can help prevent constipation. This along with its high content of folate makes it ideal for pregnant women.
Squash should definitely be on your list of vegetables if you are looking to increase your folate intake. It is especially beneficial for women in the last trimester of pregnancy. 1 cup of summer squash can yield about 36 mcg of folate. In case of winter squash it is 57 mcg per cup.
The high water content of squash is beneficial in relieving thirst in pregnant women. It can be cooked with carp or meat. It is a good measure to include some squash into your daily diet.
It is an excellent source of folate. Cauliflower can help provide about 55 mcg folate. This is approximately 14% of your daily need. It can be easily added to any of the other foods mentioned in this list, for a tasty dish.
For pregnant women, adding cauliflower to their diet is a good way of ensuring adequate folate intake. It is also rich in other vitamins and minerals that are essential for healthy fetal development. There is also dietary fiber in cauliflower which makes it good for regulating your bowel movements.
Tomato juice contains approximately 36 mcg of folate. You can add this to any of the other foods to increase the folate content. It is doubly beneficial for pregnant women. This is because it is a good source of energy during pregnancy. Pregnant women can help prevent fatigue with regular drinking of tomato juice.
Okra, with 37 mcg of folate per cup, is one of the foods that you must include in your diet for getting folate. It is also beneficial in cleaning up your digestive system. Okra also helps provide many important minerals and vitamins to your body. It is safe to consume during pregnancy in moderation. Due to its effect on your digestive tract, you should make sure to monitor the amount you consume.
Celery is very rich source of folate. It is also great in helping people suffering from kidney stones. 1 cup of raw celery can give approximately 34 mcg folate. This amounts to about 8% of the daily need. It is good for pregnant women due to its added ability to help prevent hypertension. You can add it to your salads and even have it raw. Sandwiches can also be made with celery. It can be used as a healthy snack to help boost folate intake
1 egg can contain approximately 25 mcg of folate. This apart from all its other goodnesses, makes eggs an indispensable item in this list. Eggs are an important source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, and choline. However, you should avoid having undercooked or raw eggs. These may lead to increased risk of salmonella infection.
Carrots help provide about 5% of your daily folate intake. It is also rich in vitamin a. This is essential for healthy eyes. Regular consumption of carrots helps improve your skin also. Carrots can be included in your diet in many ways. You can have them raw added to salads or cook them as mains. You can also add it to your health smoothies or drink carrot juice.
Mushrooms are a delicious way of including folate in your diet. 1 cup of fresh mushrooms contains about 18 mcg folate. This is about 5% of the daily value. Mushrooms contain thiamine, pantothenic, and niacin that are necessary for the formation of a healthy fetus. For this reason it is good to include it in your pregnancy diet. It also adds texture to your dishes and removes the monotony of flavors.
It is very rich in folate. They may have a strong taste, but they are very nutritious. 1 cup of brussle sprouts (boiled) can meet about 25% of the daily value. In addition, they are also an excellent source of vitamins like vitamin A, K, C, and and minerals like potassium, and manganese. You should especially include this in your diet during pregnancy for its health benefits. These are a great addition to your diet as they contain almost no fat.
1 cup of papaya contains about 57.8 mcg of folate. You should definitely add this to your list of foods rich in folate. Apart from folate, papayas are also rich in minerals, vitamins, and other micro-nutrients. It is very low in calories. This makes it a great way to get the folate in a healthy low-calorie way.
You can add the above foods in your diet that are rich in folate. Having adequate folate in your body is very important. Especially when you are pregnant. You can also take folate supplements if you want. Talk to a professional healthcare adviser before you start on any supplements. In case you have a known case of allergies to any of the above mentioned items, do not use at all.