Which Foods Contain the Most Folate?

Which Foods Contain the Most Folate?

Folate—also referred to as vitamin B9—plays a key role in numerous cellular processes that are vital to general health. It is involved in the synthesis of DNA, cell division, and the production of red blood cells. Because it helps create the neural tube in a developing infant, folate is also necessary throughout pregnancy.

Fruits, legumes, and leafy green vegetables are among the foods that contain folate. But the most common form it’s ingested in is folic acid, the artificial form of folate found in many fortified meals and supplements.

You can achieve your daily folate requirement with a diet rich in folate-rich foods, and folic acid pills can help make up any shortfalls.


Belonging to the legume family, lentils are high in folate. 358 micrograms (mcg) of folate, or 90% of the daily recommended amount for a healthy adult, may be found in one cup of cooked lentils.12 A cup of cooked lentils also contains a considerable amount of fiber and other micronutrients, such as iron, magnesium, and potassium. Their consumption has been associated with a number of benefits to health, including a decreased risk of conditions like diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.3.

With a range of amino acids included in each meal, lentils are a fantastic plant-based protein source as well.4
Khazaei H, Subedi M, Nickerson M, Frias J, Vandenberg A, Martínez-Villaluenga C. The present state, advancements, and culinary uses of lentil seed protein. 2019;8(9):391 in Foods.


A vegetable with a rich nutritional profile, beetroot is intensely colored. Apart from giving a vibrant, jewel-toned accent to several recipes and sweets, beets are rich in various vitamins and minerals, including manganese, vitamin C, potassium, and folate. 148 mcg, or 37% of the daily recommended intake, of folate may be found in one cup of raw beets.61

Nitrates, which are nitrogen-based chemicals associated with several health advantages, can be obtained from beets in any form—roasted, boiled, or steamed. Research indicates that beetroot juice may have a supplemental role in the management of hypertension by assisting in lowering blood pressure.7.

Dark-Eyed Peas

Since black-eyed peas are believed to bring good luck in the upcoming year, they are popular during New Year’s celebrations. Their folate content is not debatable, even though that might be. Among many other nutrients, folate is abundant in black-eyed peas.

Boiling black-eyed peas yields 105 mcg of folate, or 26% of the daily recommended dose, in one half-cup.1. Black-eyed peas are also a wonderful source of antioxidants, fiber, protein, and carbohydrates—all of which can aid in the body’s defense against illness.10

Black-eyed peas taste simple and have a creamy texture. They can be fried into patties or included into a variety of stews and salads.


Avocados are a popular addition to many cuisines because of their distinct flavor and creamy texture. Its buttery flavor isn’t its sole accolade, though. A great provider of numerous nutrients, including folate, is the avocado. An avocado half provides around 82 mcg of folate, or about 21% of the recommended daily intake of this nutrient.111

Additionally, one avocado is a healthy source of fiber, magnesium, and potassium. Studies have indicated that they are effective in preventing cardiovascular disease. Heart-healthy lipids found in avocados have been connected to lower cholesterol and a lower risk of metabolic syndrome.12

green leafy vegetables

Low in calories, leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and arugula are high in vital elements, such as folate. 58 micrograms of folate are found in one cup of raw spinach.Thirteen Including a cup of spinach in your lunch can help you reach 15% of your daily folate requirement.1.

Other vitamins and minerals found in leafy greens include vitamins A and K, which have been related to a number of health advantages. For instance, studies have indicated that eating one serving of leafy greens per day can help prevent the aging-related cognitive deterioration.14 According to other research, the antioxidant activity of leafy greens may be linked to decreased inflammation, implying that consuming more of them may lessen systemic inflammation.15

Fruits of the Citrus

Vitamin C content is a well-known benefit of citrus fruits. But they also have a substantial quantity of folate in them. For instance, 55 mcg of folate, or 14% of the daily required requirement, is included in one big orange.116 These two nutrients are essential for numerous biological processes, one of which is a robust immune system. Both folate and vitamin C contribute to innate immunity enhancement and the maintenance of an efficient immune response.17

You can eat citrus fruits raw, add them to smoothies, or use them as garnish on a variety of foods. Oranges, for instance, can be mashed into sweet potatoes or squeezed over pork chops.


Another fruit that is high in folate is papaya, which has about 54 mcg per cup.18 As a result, each cup offers numerous other vital nutrients in addition to about 14% of the daily required amount of folate.18 Papaya is high in carotenoids, which have been connected to a number of health advantages, and it is also high in potassium and vitamin C.18

The pigments called carotenoids are present in plants, as well as in their fruits and vegetables. Studies have indicated that they provide antioxidant advantages via many pathways. Papaya contains beta carotene, which is associated with pro-vitamin A activities and lowers the risk of vitamin A insufficiency.19 In addition, papaya pieces give a nutritious boost to a nutritious smoothie or a refreshing sweetness to salads with chicken, shrimp, and tuna.


Broccoli 57 mcg of folate, or 14% of the recommended daily intake, is found in one cup of finely chopped raw broccoli. It’s interesting to note that the same amount of cooked broccoli has 168 mcg of folate—a staggering 42% of the recommended daily intake.2021 This demonstrates that broccoli cooks down while retaining its folate concentration.22

Along with manganese, one cup of cooked, chopped broccoli is also a good source of vitamins A, C, and K. It can be eaten raw or prepared in a variety of ways, such as sautéing, roasting, blanching, and steaming.

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a healthy vegetable that belongs to the cruciferous family, just like kale and cabbage. They are a fantastic source of folate and are nutrient-dense. Cooked Brussels sprouts give 47 mcg of folate per half-cup serving (12% of the daily intake), according to source 23.1. They are also a good source of other vital vitamins and antioxidants.

There are numerous ways to prepare Brussels sprouts, but the quality affects the texture and flavor. To ensure that the sprouts cook at the same rate, look for compact, vibrant green sprouts and select nodes with similar sizes. You can bake, sauté, steam, or even air-fry Brussels sprouts.

Kidney Beans

Minerals, vitamins, and plant-based protein abound in kidney beans, which are also high in nutrients. They provide a great deal of folate. The amount of folate in one cup of cooked kidney beans is 131 mcg, or 33% of the recommended daily intake.1.

Additionally high in fiber, kidney beans provide numerous health benefits that begin in the digestive system. However, it is advised to soak the dry beans before cooking in order to give the starches time to dissolve and prevent gastrointestinal distress. An overnight soak in cold water is necessary for the traditional soaking procedure. To expedite the soaking process, you can soak the beans in boiling water.


Walnuts are among the many health advantages of nuts. Folate can be found in walnuts, which are a nutritional powerhouse. Folate levels in one ounce of walnut halves are 28 mcg, or 7% of the recommended daily intake.1.

A well-balanced diet that includes walnuts gives foods a wonderful crunch and a wealth of nutrients. Furthermore, walnuts are portable, so you can conveniently up your intake of folate at snack time.

Furthermore, walnuts contain alpha-linoleic acid, which has been connected to a number of health advantages. Walnuts are a food that lowers cholesterol, reduces inflammation, and may even have anticancer properties.26


Peanuts, like walnuts, can aid in boosting the intake of folate. Nutritious peanuts have an improved nutritional profile due to their high folate level. 7% of the daily required amount of folate, or 27 mcg, may be found in one ounce of dry-roasted peanuts.1.

With their savory flavor and delightful crunch, peanuts make a delicious snack or versatile component. They belong to the bean family and are a great source of protein, dietary fiber, healthy fats, and other vital elements. Consuming peanuts may promote longevity and prevent disease, according to research.27

You can eat raw, roasted, or cooked peanuts. It’s interesting to note that roasting or boiling peanuts can raise the amount of bioactive substances in them.27


When eaten, bananas are a great source of carbohydrates and provide you a boost in energy. In addition, bananas are a good source of vitamin B6, which is critical for brain function, and potassium, a mineral for heart and muscle health.28

Apart from their other health advantages, bananas provide a moderate level of folate. A medium banana supplies about 24 mcg, 28 or about 6 % of the recommended daily intake.1.

A healthy supplement to a variety of meals and snacks is the banana. Eat a banana whole, or cut it up and include it in your smoothie in the afternoon, cereal in the morning, or dessert at night.

Strong Grain

Numerous grains, including breads, pastas, and cereals, are folic acid fortified. Although the amount of folic acid in each product varies, one cup of cooked spaghetti noodles has 99 micrograms of the vitamin.29 On the other hand, 194 mcg of folic acid can be found in 3/4 cup of bran cereal.30

According to some studies, folic acid—which is included in foods that have been fortified—may be absorbed more easily than folate. While about 50% of folate that occurs naturally in food is thought to be bioavailable, at least 85% of folic acid is thought to be when taken with food.1.
The National Institutes of Health. Folate.

How Much Vitamin Folate Is Needed?

Age-group-specific requirements for folate vary, generally rising with age. Both boys and females require 65 mcg of folate every day from birth to six months. Ages 7 to 12 months require 80 mcg, whereas those aged 1-3 years require 150 mcg. 400 mcg is required for ages 4–8, and 300 mcg for ages 9–13.

Adults over 19 and healthy teenagers require 400 micrograms of folate per day on average. But during pregnancy and nursing, those requirements rise to 600 and 500 mcg each day, respectively. Because folate helps construct the neural tube in the developing fetus, it is necessary during pregnancy.

It is difficult for a lot of women to get that much folate from diet alone. To lower the chance of congenital abnormalities in the brain and spine, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises taking a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid.31

Ways to Increase Your Folate

Intake You can boost your intake of folate by eating a well-balanced diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and fortified foods. Consider serving more leafy green salads with your meals or adding folate-rich fruits as garnish to your recipes if you want to improve your intake of naturally occurring folate.

Additionally, preliminary studies suggest a link between increased folate bioavailability and vitamin C. Vitamin C may increase the body’s ability to absorb folate by preventing the stomach from breaking down folic acid supplements and natural folate. It’s crucial to remember that these studies only included tiny trial groups, necessitating more investigation.32

Finally, it’s possible that folic acid supplements are more readily absorbed than folate found in nature. When opposed to folate, which is only about 50% bioavailable, folic acid is 85% bioavailable.1. If eating whole foods isn’t enough to meet your folate needs, your doctor can suggest taking a folic acid supplement.

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