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85 Folic Acid Foods: The Ultimate Guide to a Healthier You

Table of Contents


Folic acid, also known as folate or vitamin B9, is a vital vitamin that provides numerous benefits to the body. It is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning the body cannot produce it and you must obtain it through diet or supplements. Folic acid is essential for embryo development, so women of childbearing age should consume adequate amounts. Because it has so many functions in the body, it benefits individuals of all ages and genders. Discover the highest folic acid foods and understand the importance of folic acid. Learn about folic acid-rich foods for a balanced diet and overall health.

How folic acid functions within the body.

1. Proteins in DNA and RNA Synthesis.

Folic acid aids in the production of DNA and RNA, the genetic components of all cells, and maintains their integrity. It is necessary for the production of new cells and their survival because it promotes cell growth and division. This is crucial during periods of accelerated development, such as pregnancy, infancy, and adolescence.

2. Red Blood Cell Formation.

Red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow, and this process requires folic acid. It forms hemoglobin with vitamin B12 and iron. Insufficient folic acid intake causes megaloblastic anemia. It manifests as red blood cells that are abnormally large and immature.

3. Neural Tube Development.

Folic acid is essential for developing the neural tube in a fetus’s developing brain. The neural tube produces the brain and spinal cord. Folic acid shortage in the first three months of pregnancy raises the chance of neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida, anencephaly, and others. Folic acid is essential for women who are attempting to conceive or who have just discovered they are expectant.

4. Homocysteine Metabolism.

Folic acid reduces blood amino acid homocysteine. Folic acid, B6, and B12 help the body convert homocysteine into useful chemicals. This reduces the risk of cardiovascular issues.

5. Mental Processes.

It has been hypothesized that folic acid could improve cognitive function. In senior individuals, low levels of folic acid have been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and depression. However, additional research is required to demonstrate that folic acid causes these diseases.

What Is Folic Acid, Exactly?

A. Background information and a definition.

Folic acid—pteroylglutamic acid—is synthetic folate. Folate is natural vitamin B9, whereas folic acid is synthetic and found in supplements and fortified foods. Since the 1940s, folic acid supplements and dietary additives have treated folate deficiency.

B. Folic acid vs. folate differences.

1. Chemical Makeup.

Although their chemical structures are identical, the forms of the molecules vary between folic acid and folate. The stable structure of folic acid makes it simple for the body to convert it into the active form of folate. Contrarily, the term “foliate” refers to the many vitamin forms that are found in foods and the body naturally.

2. Biological availability and absorption.

Folic acid lasts longer than dietary folate. Folic acid, unlike food-based folate, is absorbed in the small intestine. However, the bioavailability of folate may differ based on things like a person’s metabolism, the condition of their stomach, and the existence of certain genetic variants.

3. Supplementation and fortification.

Due to its stability and capacity to raise the body’s level of folate, folic acid is often employed in food fortification programs and nutritional supplements. In order to guarantee optimal consumption, fortified foods including bread, pasta, and morning cereals often include folic acid. Contrarily, folate is a naturally occurring substance found in many foods, including liver, leafy green vegetables, legumes, and citrus fruits. However, storage, preparation, and processing variables might change how much folate is present in food.

4. Prevention of Neural Tube Defects During Pregnancy.

For women of reproductive age, adequate folate consumption, whether from natural dietary sources or synthetic folic acid, is essential to lower the incidence of neural tube abnormalities in newborns. The neural tube, which forms the baby’s brain and spinal cord, fails to correctly shut during the early stages of pregnancy, resulting in neural tube abnormalities. In early pregnancy and before conception, folic acid supplementation has been proven to greatly lower the chance of neural tube abnormalities.

5. Recommendations for diet.

Dietary recommendations often suggest using folic acid supplements or consuming fortified foods to consume the necessary daily amount of folate due to the greater bioavailability of folic acid. Natural foods high in folate should still be a part of a balanced diet since they provide extra health benefits and contain vitamins.

How Much Folic Acid You Should Take in Each Day.

A. Dietary suggestions for different age groups.

Folic acid has different suggested daily allowances (RDAs) based on age, gender, and stage of life. The RDAs for folic acid are as follows:

Age GroupRDA (mcg/day)
0-6 months65
7-12 months80
1-3 years150
4-8 years200
9-13 years300
Males (14+ years)400
Females (14+ years)400

Note: The values in the table are given in micrograms (mcg) per day.

Notably, these suggestions are for total folate intake, which includes both natural sources of folate and folic acid from enriched foods and vitamins.

1. Special care for women who are expecting.

Folic acid is important for the growth of the fetus, so pregnant women need more of it. Folic acid is very important in the early stages of pregnancy, especially before conception and during the first trimester, when the neural tube is formed. The RDA for folic acid during pregnancy is 600 micrograms per day.

Folic acid is especially important for pregnant women because:

1. Getting ready before conception.

Women who want to get pregnant should start taking a 400-microgram folic acid tablet every day for at least one month before they try to get pregnant. This early nutrition makes sure that the body has enough folate because neural tube defects can happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy, when a woman may not even know she is pregnant.

2. Prenatal Supplements.

Folic acid is important for pregnancy, and most prenatal pills have the right amount. Pregnant women should keep taking prenatal pills throughout their pregnancy to meet their higher folic acid needs.

3. Sources of nutrition.

Along with pregnancy vitamins, women who are expecting should eat foods that are high in folate. Along with prenatal vitamins, a healthy diet that includes these foods can help meet the higher folic acid needs during pregnancy.

4. Pregnancy with a lot of risks.

Some women may need to take more folic acid because of certain risk factors. This includes women who have had a previous pregnancy caused by a neural tube defect, women with certain medical conditions, and women who take certain drugs that stop the body from absorbing or using folic acid. In this case, a doctor or nurse may suggest taking more folic acid or a different kind of prenatal vitamin.

Pregnant women should talk to their doctor or obstetrician about getting the right amount of folic acid in their food and through supplements based on their unique needs and medical history.

Foods High in Folic Acid.

1. Vegetables.

No.FoodFolic Acid (mcg)Daily Value (%)
3Brussels Sprouts10927%

2. Legumes.

No.FoodFolic Acid (mcg)Daily Value (%)
13Black Beans25664%
14Kidney Beans23058%
15Pinto Beans14637%
16Lima Beans15639%
18Split Peas12732%
20Mung Beans8020%

3. Fruits.

No.FoodFolic Acid (mcg)Daily Value (%)

4. Meats.

No.FoodFolic Acid (mcg)Daily Value (%)
31Liver (beef)21454%
32Liver (chicken)19449%
34Chicken Breast82%
35Pork Tenderloin123%

5. Seafood.

No.FoodFolic Acid (mcg)Daily Value (%)

6. Seeds.

No.FoodFolic Acid (mcg)Daily Value (%)
51Sunflower Seeds22757%
53Sesame Seeds6917%
54Chia Seeds6316%
55Pumpkin Seeds5714%
56Poppy Seeds215%
57Hemp Seeds154%
60Wheat Germ7920%

7. Dairy Products, Dry Fruits, and Other Foods.

No.FoodFolic Acid (mcg)Daily Value (%)
69Dark Chocolate154%

Please note that the daily value percentages may vary depending on age, gender, and specific dietary needs.

8. Herbs.

Here is a table of herbs that are rich in folic acid, along with their folic acid content and the daily value (DV) percentage based on a 400 mcg DV for adults:

NumberHerbFolic Acid Content (per 100g)Daily Value (DV)
71Parsley152 mcg38%
72Chervil105 mcg26%
73Spearmint89 mcg22%
74Basil68 mcg17%
75Marjoram61 mcg15%
76Dill55 mcg14%
77Tarragon45 mcg11%
78Thyme37 mcg9%
79Oregano36 mcg9%
80Rosemary29 mcg7%
81Sage26 mcg7%
82Cilantro (Coriander)23 mcg6%
83Mint21 mcg5%
84Bay Leaves10 mcg3%
85Savory10 mcg3%

Please note that the folic acid content mentioned is an approximate value and may vary depending on factors such as growing conditions and the freshness of the herbs.

Tips for Cooking to Preserve Folic Acid Content.

A. The best cooking techniques.

1. Steaming.

One of the finest cooking techniques for retaining the amount of folic acid in food is steaming. Instead of immersing the food in water, steam is used to cook the meal. Because there is little contact with water, leaching is prevented, steaming helps to protect the nutrients, especially folic acid.

2. Stir-frying.

Stir-frying is yet another fantastic cooking technique that keeps folic acid intact. tiny amounts of food are swiftly cooked at high heat in a tiny quantity of oil. The folic acid content of vegetables and legumes is preserved by rapid cooking and high heat.

3. Microwaving.

This is a rapid and effective cooking technique that may help foods keep some of their folic acid content. Microwaving reduces nutrition loss since it uses little water. It is suggested to use a microwave-safe container and, if required, to add a little quantity of water.

4. Broiling or grilling.

Broiling or grilling is a dry heat cooking technique that may assist meats and seafood preserve folic acid. These techniques swiftly and at high temperatures cook the food while preserving nutrients. Overcooking must be avoided since sustained exposure to high heat might cause nutritional loss.

5. Quick blanching.

Blanching is the process of fast-chilling vegetables in cold water after being temporarily submerged in hot water. By minimizing nutritional loss and cutting down on cooking time, this technique helps keep the folic acid concentration.

B. Storage Advice.

Even after foods have been cooked, proper storage methods may help keep their folic acid concentration.

1. Refrigeration.

Food should be refrigerated below 40°F (4°C) to prevent spoiling. Folic acid is one of the nutrients whose deterioration is slowed by refrigeration. To avoid oxidation and preserve freshness, it is essential to keep prepared meals in airtight containers.

2. Freezing.

A great way to keep the folic acid content in cooked meals for a long time is by freezing them. Freezer-safe, airtight containers or freezer bags prevent freezer burn. For easy access, mark the containers with the storage date.

3. Minimize exposure to air and light.

Reduce folic acid exposure to air and light since these factors may lead to nutritional breakdown and oxidation. To reduce exposure to light, store food in containers that are opaque or dark. Containers must be properly sealed in order to avoid air exposure.

4. Prevent lengthy storage.

Cooked meals should be consumed within a reasonable amount of time, even if appropriate storage may help keep the folic acid content. Nutrient deterioration may occur over time as a result of extended storage. Foods that have been prepared should be eaten within a few days or frozen for longer-term preservation.

5. Minimize reheating.

Reheating cooked dishes often might result in the loss of nutrients, including folic acid. Reheat just the amount you want to consume and avoid repeated reheating cycles to reduce nutritional deterioration.

You may help preserve the folic acid level in foods and maintain optimum nutritional benefits by adhering to these ideal cooking techniques and storage suggestions.

Folic Acid Supplements:

When using dietary supplements may be necessary.

In certain cases, people who have a high need for this vitamin may need to take folic acid supplements. The following conditions may call for folic acid supplements:

1. Pregnancy.

Folic acid supplements are routinely recommended to expectant mothers in order to support fetal development and lower the chance of neural tube abnormalities in their offspring. Pregnant women get a higher daily dosage.

2. Preconception.

Women who are attempting to become pregnant may benefit from taking folic acid supplements before conception and during the first trimester to guarantee optimal folate levels in the body.

3. Vitamin B6 shortage.

Folate-deficient persons may require folic acid supplements due to poor diet or medical issues.

4. Malabsorptive circumstances.

Celiac, inflammatory bowel, and hereditary illnesses may impair folic acid absorption. To establish optimal folate levels in such circumstances, it could be required to take dietary supplements.

5. Medical treatments and pharmaceuticals.

The metabolism of folate may be inhibited by the cancer and rheumatoid arthritis medication methotrexate. To avoid possible deficits, folic acid supplements may be administered in certain circumstances.

The significance of seeking medical attention.

Before starting folic acid supplements, speak with a medical expert, such as a doctor or a qualified dietitian. Justify why:

1. Guidelines for dosage.

Healthcare specialists may evaluate your personal needs and decide the ideal folic acid dose based on factors including age, gender, particular health issues, and stage of life. Depending on your nutritional habits, they could modify their advice.

2. Interactions and contraindications.

Folic acid interactions may be checked by a doctor. They can vouch for the safety and suitability of your supplement regimen for your general well-being.

3. Monitoring and evaluation.

To verify the efficacy of supplementation and, if necessary, change the dose, regular monitoring of folate levels may be needed. Blood testing and progress monitoring by medical specialists may be used to enhance the effectiveness of supplements.

4. Individualized counseling.

Regarding the time, dose, and possible side effects of using folic acid supplements, medical specialists may provide detailed advice. Any queries or worries you may have can be addressed, and they can provide continuous assistance as you take the supplements.

5. Global health assessment.

During a consultation with a healthcare expert, you will get a thorough evaluation of your overall health and nutritional state. They could assess your food, way of life, and any other elements that might have an impact on your folate levels, then provide you with tailored dietary advice.

Supplements containing folic acid may be helpful in certain cases, but they shouldn’t take the place of a varied diet and a healthy lifestyle. The best way to get nutrients is via a mix of whole meals and, if required, dietary supplements taken under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner.


Folic acid (vitamin B9) is necessary for numerous biological processes. Pregnant mothers must take steps to prevent neural tube defects in their offspring. Folic acid aids in the production of red blood cells, DNA, and cell division. It improves cognitive, cardiovascular, and immune health.

This page provides a list of 85 vegetables, legumes, fruits, meats, fish, seeds, dairy products, and preserved fruits that are abundant in folic acid. The diet consists of kale, lentils, citrus, liver, salmon, sunflower seeds, yogurt, and hazelnuts. These nutrients contribute to adequate folic acid intake.

In certain conditions, folic acid supplements may be required, but a balanced diet is essential for obtaining enough. Whole meals contain folic acid, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, especially those on the table. Incorporating these foods into a healthy diet improves health.

Folic acid is found in vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole cereals, lean proteins, seafood, seeds, dairy products, and nuts. Consume a colorful entrée for an assortment of nutrients. Folic acid is preserved through steaming, stir-frying, and microwaving.

Age, gender, life stage, and health issues influence dietary needs. Folic acid supplements and consumption should be discussed with a physician or nutritionist.

Small dietary changes can have a significant impact on your nutritional status, so prioritize your folic acid intake and experience the benefits of a healthy way of life.


What is folic acid and why is it important?

Folic acid is another name for folate, a water-soluble B vitamin. It is required for a variety of biological functions, including DNA synthesis, red blood cell creation, and proper cell division. Folic acid is essential for pregnant women since it is required for fetal development. It also strengthens the immune system, improves cardiovascular health, and improves cognitive function.

What does folic acid do for the body?

Folic acid is necessary for the body since it aids in cell development and maintenance. It aids in the formation of DNA and RNA, the two main components of genetic material. Folic acid is also required for the synthesis of red blood cells and the digestion of amino acids. It also enhances the normal working of the neurological system.

What are the benefits of taking folic acid supplements?

Folic acid supplements provide a variety of benefits, including:

  • Reducing the possibility that pregnant women may have babies with neural tube defects.
  • Supporting fetal development that is healthy and minimizing the incidence of birth defects.
  • Boosting the formation of red blood cells and preventing anemia.
  • Maintaining the health of the brain and the psyche.
  • Promotion of cardiovascular health.
  • The immunological function is improved.

How much folic acid do I need daily?

Each day, a varied quantity of folic acid is recommended depending on your age, gender, and stage of life. The recommended daily folic acid intake for most people is 400 micrograms (mcg). While nursing women may only need 500 mcg of folic acid, pregnant women often require 600-800 mcg. It is important to consult with a healthcare practitioner for personalized guidance.

What foods are high in folic acid?

Folic acid may be found in a variety of foods, including:

  • Kale, collard greens, and spinach are examples of dark leafy greens.
  • Black beans, chickpeas, and lentils are examples of legumes.
  • Citrus fruits include oranges, grapefruits, and lemons.
  • Meats include beef, chicken, and liver.
  • Salmon, trout, and prawns are examples of seafood.
  • Flax and sunflower seeds are examples of seeds.
  • Milk and yogurt are examples of dairy products.
  • Breakfast cereals and bread fortified with nutrition.

Are there any side effects of taking folic acid supplements?

Folic acid supplements are generally considered safe when taken as directed. Excessive folic acid consumption from supplements, on the other hand, may mask the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Some individuals may have minor side effects such as nausea, bloating, or gas. It is critical to consult with a medical professional about the appropriate dosage as well as any potential interactions or side effects.

Can folic acid help with hair growth?

Folic acid aids in the formation of red blood cells, which deliver oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles. A healthy folic acid intake, along with a balanced diet, may benefit overall hair health, yet there is little empirical evidence linking folic acid supplementation to hair growth.

Is folic acid the same as folate?

Despite their close relationship, folic acid and folate are not the same substance. While folic acid is the synthetic form of the vitamin found in supplements and fortified foods, foliate is the vitamin’s natural form found in food. Both are converted to the same active form in the body. Because it is more stable and bioavailable, folic acid is often used as a supplement.

Can I get enough folic acid from my diet alone?

A well-balanced diet rich in folate-rich foods will help you meet your folic acid needs. Supplementation may, however, be necessary to ensure adequate intake in some conditions, such as pregnancy, preconception, or certain medical diseases. Depending on the unique needs, a healthcare specialist may advise on the best course of action.

How does folic acid benefit, pregnant women?

Folic acid is crucial for pregnant women because it protects the developing fetus against neural tube abnormalities such as spina bifida. It aids good fetal development, especially early on when the neural tube is growing. Prenatal folic acid supplementation may significantly reduce the risk of various birth defects.

Can folic acid help prevent birth defects?

It is true that folic acid is critical in preventing various birth defects, most notably neural tube defects. Neural tube anomalies occur when the neural tube, which produces the baby’s brain and spinal cord during early pregnancy, fails not close properly. Adequate folic acid intake may reduce the incidence of congenital malformations significantly, especially before conception and throughout the first trimester of pregnancy.

Is folic acid important for men’s health too?

Folic acid is very important for men’s health. Folic acid deficiency may have a negative influence on male fertility since it contributes to sperm production and quality. An adequate folic acid intake promotes the formation of healthy sperm and is beneficial to overall reproductive health.

Can I overdose on folic acid?

Folic acid is generally viewed as safe, with no risk of overdose from dietary sources. Overdoing the maximum daily dose of 1,000 mcg for adults when using folic acid pills, on the other hand, may have significant side effects or mask a vitamin B12 shortage. It is essential to follow the recommended doses and seek medical assistance.

Should I take folic acid supplements if I’m not planning to get pregnant?

While folic acid supplementation is essential for women who are attempting to get pregnant or who are already moms, it also has a positive impact on overall health. Folic acid stimulates a variety of bodily functions and assists in illness prevention. However, dietary intake, health, and individual needs decide if supplementation is required. Speak with a healthcare professional if you want customized advice on whether folic acid supplements are recommended for you.

Are eggs folic acid-rich?

Eggs have a little folic acid. Folic acid is 22–24 mcg per big egg. Eggs provide protein, vitamins, and minerals, but not folic acid. For more folic acid, eat dark leafy greens, legumes, citrus fruits, and fortified cereals.

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