Folic acid is also called as folate or vitamin B9. Folic acid is essential for brain function and plays a significant role in mental and emotional health. It supports in the production of DNA and RNA. Folic acid is crucial when cells and tissues are growing rapidly, such as infancy, adolescence or during pregnancy.
Body needs this nutrient especially to make red blood cells, produce DNA, prevent a certain type of anemia, and is highly needed for baby’s neural tube and spinal cord development. Folic acid also reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, some kinds of cancers, and risk of high blood pressure.
Alcoholism, celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease are the main causes for folic acid deficiency. This deficiency leads to:
- Loss of appetite
- Tongue inflammation
- Poor growth
- Shortness of breath
- Mental sluggishness
Women need 400 micrograms (mcg) before pregnancy and 600 mcg during pregnancy. Breastfeeding mother must take 500 mcg per day.
Foods rich in folic acid
1. Turkey liver
Turkey liver contains excellent amount of folate, vitamin B-6, and B-12, choline, selenium, niacin and zinc. They are high in protein that makes you feel full for a longer period. Protein helps to maintain lean muscle mass and keeps insulin level stable after meals. The selenium content reduces risk of lung, bladder, colorectal, prostate, skin and gastric cancers. Moderate consumption of turkey liver helps to prevent diseases and in achieving good health. You can make some delicious foods by using turkey. Turkey stir fry, three bean turkey chilli, wild blueberry turkey burgers, spinach and turkey balls are some of them.
100 grams of turkey liver contains 691 mcg which is 173% of RDA.
2. Pinto beans
Pinto beans are an excellent source of folate, fibre, potassium, iron, manganese and copper. Pinto beans are easy to find, cheap and contain wonderful health benefits. The amount of protein in pinto beans are high that keeps you full for a longer time. The iron content helps to increase the production of red blood cells.
Boil pinto beans to keep this food as nutritious as possible. Add pinto beans to vegetable soups, chilli recipes and stew.
One cup of pinto beans contains 249 mcg of folic acid which is 74% of RDA.
3. Dry roasted soybeans
Dry roasted soybeans are packed with vitamins and minerals and also provide all essential amino acids. They are high in protein that helps in building and maintaining body cells and tissue. The fibre content helps to manage our blood sugar levels and promotes healthy digestive system. It can be eaten as a snack before or between meals.
Dry roasted soybeans contain 176.3 mcg of folic acid which is 44% of RDA.
Avocados are an incredibly nutritious food. They are rich in folic acid, are full of antioxidants, and contain 20 different vitamins and minerals. Avocados can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels thereby keeping heart healthy. It also helps to reduce weight and reduce blood sugar levels. Avocado puree can be added to pasta, which is a very good substitute for butter or oil, and you can also spread puree on sandwiches.
One avocado contains 162.8 mcg of folic acid which is 41% of RDA.
Peanuts are excellent sources of copper, manganese, folate, biotin, phosphorous, vitamin E and protein. Frequent consumption of peanuts reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Eating peanuts just 2 to 3 times a week reduces the risk of colon cancer in women by 58% and men by 27%. Roasted peanuts can be eaten plain as a snack or you can prepare peanut butter and add it to bread, cereals, fruits and vegetables. 1 teaspoon of peanut butter daily reduces bloated up tummy after pregnancy.
½ cup of peanuts contains 105.9 mcg of folic acid which is 26.5% of RDA.
6. Black eyed peas
All beans and peas are excellent sources of folic acid. They also contain magnesium, calcium, iron and are a great source of soluble fibre. Soluble fibre helps to prevent type 2 diabetes by keeps blood sugar on a balanced level. Folate reduces the risk of birth defects of the spinal cord and brain and also produces red blood cells. Cooked black eyed peas can be added to salads, mashed with soups and so on.
½ cup of black eyed peas contains 104.8 mcg of folic acid which is 26% of RDA.
7. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are rich in folic acid, vitamins, minerals, energy, protein, and essential fatty acids. It promotes bone health, heart health, and mental health. It also prevents cancer, controls cholesterol and supports the digestion process. Roasted sunflower seeds can be eaten plain or you can add it to salads, fried veggies or any of your favourite dishes.
¼ cup of sunflower seeds contains 82 mcg of folic acid which is 21% of RDA.
8. Citrus fruits
The amounts of folic acid in citrus fruits are the highest when compared to other fruits. Especially, oranges contain high amounts of folic acid. It also contains vitamin C, fibre, vitamin A, potassium and choline. Regular consumption of oranges may boost your immune system and reduces the risk of constipation. Adding orange juice to your breakfast or eating one orange during or after lunch is good for folic acid absorption.
One small orange contains 28.8 mcg of folic acid which is 7% of RDA.
Some of the other folic acid rich foods are:
Flax seeds, Almonds, Red beans, Dried spearmint, Arugula, Banana, Tomato juice and Cayenne pepper.