It’s very common for people to supplement with vitamins and minerals nowadays. Vitamin C, zinc, vitamin D, omega-3, turmeric, and medicinal mushrooms are common supplements. Another supplement that receives a lot of attention is folic acid, which also exists in fortified foods. It’s the synthesized version of folate, the natural form of vitamin B9, which you can find in a wide variety of natural foods.
What Is Folate?
Folate is a water soluble vitamin that encourages proper fetal growth and development, reducing the risk of some common birth defects. It also supports healthy cell division and assists the body with red and white blood cell production. Folate supports DNA and RNA and even helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy. In a nutshell, folate does quite a lot for the body, which is why it’s such an important nutrient. And the great news is that you can get it from many different foods.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), adults and children over the age of 14 should consume 400 micrograms (mcg) of folate per day. For reference, that’s about 1.5 cups of boiled spinach. Pregnant women should consume 600 mcg of folate each day to encourage healthy fetal development. Learn how to add more folate to your diet by reading about the foods below.
These healthy spears offer a wide variety of nutrients, including folate. A half-cup of cooked asparagus fulfills 134 mcg of folate, which equates to about 34% of your recommended daily intake (RDI). Asparagus exhibits anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activity, in addition to offering lots of heart-healthy fiber.
Many legumes, including beans, lentils, and black-eyed peas, tend to contain more folate than most other foods. The exact amount of folate varies between legume varieties, but one cup of cooked black-eyed peas contains about 200 mcg. Comparatively, one cup of cooked kidney beans contains 131 mcg. Black-eyed peas are very easy to incorporate into several dishes, but you can always opt for lentils, black beans, or kidney beans if you prefer.
Kale, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, and arugula are all examples of leafy greens. Not only are they rich in key vitamins and minerals, but they also exhibit lots of folate. For example, one cup of raw spinach provides 58.2 mcg. Leafy greens are also rich in fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A and K. Several studies found that eating more leafy greens may help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of certain cancers.
Just like leafy greens, Brussels sprouts are brimming with health benefits. They contain kaempferol, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps to reduce inflammation and oxidative damage. Unfortunately, many people have a love/hate relationship with Brussels sprouts. For those who enjoy them, a half-cup of cooked Brussels sprouts offers 47 mcg of folate.
This nutrient-dense fruit is known for papain, a proteolytic enzyme that helps break down proteins into peptides (small protein fragments). That’s not all papaya is good for, though. Papaya is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, potassium, antioxidants, and, of course, folate. One cup of papaya contains 53 mcg of folate. One thing to note is that pregnant women should not consume unripe papaya, as it may induce contractions.
When it comes to loading up on omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and folate, your go-to source should be avocado. The monounsaturated fatty acids in avocado help to encourage healthier heart and brain function. Additionally, you can satisfy about 21% of your RDI of folate when you eat one-half of a raw avocado. And we all know how easy it is to do that!
The vibrant color of beets is quite mesmerizing, but it also indicates that they exhibit potent antioxidants. Beets contain nitrates, which are plant compounds that may help reduce blood pressure. The potassium in beets may also help with this process. In addition to providing the body with manganese and vitamin C, beets offer about 148 mcg of folate per one cup.