10 Best Food Sources Of Folic Acid

Folic acid gets a lot of press due to its extreme importance as a nutrient for women who may become pregnant. Women who become pregnant without having adequate folate intake before conception risk serious birth defects. That's why it's extremely necessary that women get enough folic acid, even if they are not yet pregnant or even thinking about it.

Men aren't off the hook, either. Recent research suggests that folic acid can also reduce chromosomal defects in sperm. Men who think they might father children at any time in their future also need to be concerned about having enough folic acid (folate) in their diets.

Past the childbearing years or certain you won't be a parent anytime soon? You're still not off the hook. Folate may be able to reduce the risk of heart attack and some types of cancer.

While supplements are one way of making certain you get enough folic acid, food sources are even better. Eating your minerals in the form of natural foods ensures a higher likelihood of your body absorbing the minerals in a usable form, and you get the added bonus of additional vitamins, minerals and overall health benefits of eating healthful foods.

10 Best Natural Food Sources Of Folic Acid

Fortified cereals.  Breakfast cereals mostly are enriched with minerals and vitamins, including folic acid. Look for cereals that are low in sugar and high in fiber to reap the most nutritional benefits. Some cereals that contain 100% of the RDA for folic acid include: Wheat Chex, Raisin Bran, Special K, Mueslix, and Quaker Oats Squares..

Blackeyed peas. Some people forget about blackeyed peas except for New Year's Day, but they're an easy way to make sure you get enough folate. Try making a blackeyed pea dip for a spicy and fun way to add them to your diet.

Spinach.  Leafy greens are an easy way to add folic acid to your diet, and spinach may be the easiest of them all. Its versatility means it can be added to pizza, pasta salads, stir-frys, or eaten raw as a salad.

Beans.  You don't have to eat an old-fashioned pot of beans to reap the nutritional benefits of legumes. Bean and cheese quesadillas, black bean burritos, savory bean soups and zesty hummus dips are more modern ways to get a folate boost.

Asparagus. Try folic acid-rich fresh asparagus spears roasted in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil for an easy side dish to any dinner.

Enriched rice. Most white rice products are required to be enriched with folate by the FDA. Check the box to make sure, and enjoy rice at least once a week with a healthful stir-fry.

Broccoli. If, like many Americans (including at least one president), you don't care for cooked broccoli, you might find that you like it better raw. The taste is much more mild, and you can enjoy it with a low-fat dip.

Avocados. It shouldn't be a chore to add more of this creamy nutrient-rich fruit to your diet. Try a low fat roasted tomatillo guacamole if you're watching your weight.

Peanuts. Nuts are rich in folic acid, but too many can pack quite a few calories. Keep your intake well-portioned by using them as a topping for salads, stir-fries, or yogurt.

Orange juice. Your mother was right to insist that you drink your juice, but many adults have fallen out of the habit in favor of their morning coffee. Make sure you get your folate as well as your C with a daily glass of OJ.

Try your best to include a few of these foods in your diet every week. Items like juice and cereal should be easy to make part of a daily routine. Take advantage of what we know about folic acid to ensure a healthier future for yourself and for the next generation.


Folate for men may reduce birth defects

NIH fact sheet on folate

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