Folic Acid Foods You Should Be Eating All the Time

| February 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

Folic acid is essential during pregnancy, but even without a baby on board it’s an important nutrient. The average adult needs 400 micrograms daily in order to maintain energy, muscle strength, and concentration, says Erin Palinski-Wade, R.D., author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies. And while many get it through a supplement when they’re expecting, folic acid is also found in foods. These are some of the top sources to help you hit your allowance.

folic acid foods

Beans

Black-eyed peas have the most folic acid of any bean, with a half-cup delivering 105 micrograms, Palinski-Wade says. (Kidney beans are the next best source at 46 micrograms per half-cup.) It doesn’t matter if they’re canned or prepared from scratch, but if you’re watching your sodium intake, be sure to give the canned version a good rinse before cooking. A great way to mix ’em into your meals? Taco night, obviously.

Broccoli

A staple on many plates, a cooked half-cup of broccoli carries 52 micrograms of folic acid, along with fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. Palinski-Wade recommends steaming vegetables like broccoli rather than boiling them, since folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that can leach out into the water. You could also add it to a soup, since you’d be eating the vitamin-rich broth.

Asparagus

Hello, folic acid powerhouse. According to Palinski-Wade, just four spears of asparagus contain 89 micrograms of folic acid. Binge on 20 spears and you’ll be set for the day. If you’d rather spread out your servings, roast them with salt and pepper and either serve as a side dish or chop ’em up and mix into a tasty salad.

Spinach

Popeye got his strength from this veggie and you totally can, too. A half-cup of cooked spinach contains about 130 micrograms of folic acid, which is more than a quarter or your daily recommended dosage. And yes, cooking it matters, as there’s more folic acid available if it’s cooked versus raw, Palinski-Wade says. Try sautéing the leaves in olive oil and season to taste.

Avocados

If you simply want to slice up a food and go, avocado is a smart choice. This fruit contains 59 micrograms of folic acid in a half-cup serving (that’s about 1/2 of a large avocado), Palinski-Wade says, so add it to that lunchtime sandwich or mash it into a delicious guacamole.

Bananas

If you’ve been eating an apple a day to keep the doctor away, you may want to add a banana to that ritual. One medium banana has 44 micrograms of folic acid, and they’re as easy to grab and go as any multivitamin. Throw one in a smoothie if you prefer to drink your vitamins, or add slices to a bowl of fortified cereal, which Palinski-Wade says often contains folic acid, too.

Oranges

A small, regular orange has 29 micrograms of folic acid, Palinski-Wade says. So, no, you shouldn’t rely on it as your only source of folic acid (it would take a lot of oranges to get close to your daily recommendation), but it’s certainly a great fruit to keep on hand in an otherwise nutritious diet. Serve it up sliced or peeled as a snack during the day, or try adding it to otherwise savory dishes like rice or pork loin.

Eggs

Eggs are a serious nutrient powerhouse, so it’s no surprise that they’re a solid source of folic acid at 22 micrograms per egg, Palinski-Wade says. A three-egg omelette will get you almost a quarter of the way to your daily goal, or you can add a hardboiled egg to your lunch for an easy mid-day snack.

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are also a good choice for getting an adequate amount of folate, Palinski-Wade says. The USDA nutrition database notes that cooked (boiled) Brussels sprouts have 47 micrograms of folic acid per half-cup, so cut them in half, sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper, and roast until crispy.

Beef liver

Of all the foods on this list, beef liver actually contains the most folic acid of any of them, containing 215 micrograms in just 3oz. (That’s more than half your recommended daily allowance, Palinski-Wade says.) If you’re game to give it a go, cook it with tomato and onion to add some Italian flair.

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