When you think of folate, you might associate it with a necessary vitamin for pregnant women (1). And you’d be right. Folate is especially essential to support fetal development during pregnancy (2).
It’s one of eight essential B vitamins that help promote proper nerve functioning and DNA production (3). But folate is also essential for everyone.
Folate, also known as folic acid, is water-soluble and present in many foods (4). Folic acid is the synthetic form of the vitamin present in supplements (5). That means it doesn’t occur naturally. Folate is present in many foods.
Summary: Folate is an essential B vitamin that is necessary to support proper nerve functioning and DNA synthesis. It is present in many foods.
Table of Contents
Foods high in folate
Find out what foods are high in folate, and make sure you have enough in your daily diet.
1. Beef Liver
Three ounces of beef liver contains 215 mcg of folate per serving (3), just about half of the daily recommended intake of folate.
Beef liver is one of the most nutrient-rich foods you can eat. They are not only high in folate, but also tons of essential B vitamins, vitamin A, zinc, and selenium (6).
Grab some beef liver to help you reach your daily intake of folate and other vitamins and mineral. You can buy beef liver jerky if the taste and texture of beef liver isn’t to your taste. Liver jerky tastes just like regular beef jerky.
Summary: Beef liver contains 215 mcg of folate per serving (54 percent DV). It also contains many essential vitamins and minerals, including other B vitamins, vitamin A, zinc, and selenium.
Did you know that just a half a cup of spinach packs in 131 mcg per serving? Spinach makes up 33 percent of the daily recommended intake, so it’s a significant source of folate (3).
Consuming more spinach and other dark leafy greens is associated with lower risk for heart disease (7). Grab some spinach to add to your breakfast, mid-day smoothie, lunch, or dinner.
However, spinach is high in oxalates. Some people with calcium oxalate kidney stones benefit from limiting oxalate rich foods from their diet until their symptoms resolve.
Summary: Spinach provides 131 mcg folate per serving or 33 percent of the recommended daily intake. Consuming spinach is also associated with lower risk of heart disease.
3. Black-Eyed Peas
Black-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas, contain 105 mcg folate per serving (or 26 percent of the daily recommended intake) (3). They are also rich in other B vitamins, protein and fiber (8). Although the name says pea, they are a part of the legume family.
Adding legumes like black-eyed peas to your diet are associated with many health benefits. Studies have found those who consume legumes had lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and better blood sugar control (9).
Summary: Black-eyed peas contain 105 mcg folate per serving (or 26% of the daily recommended intake). Some evidence suggests that legumes may help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and maintain good blood sugar control.
4. White Rice
Even though white rice is considered to be a refined carbohydrate, it’s usually fortified with a lot of beneficial vitamins, including B vitamins like folate. White rice contains 90 mcg of folate per serving or 22 percent of the recommended daily intake (3).
Consuming white rice associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease (10). However, the current Dietary Guidelines recommend making half of the grains in your diet whole grains for its additional fiber and nutrient content (11).
One way to do this is to consume white rice, brown rice, and wild rice together. There are many blends of different kinds of rice available to help protect your heart and get the right amount of nutrients, including folate.
Summary: White rice contains 90 mcg of folate per serving or 22 percent of the recommended daily intake. Eating white rice is associated with lower risk of heart disease, but the dietary guidelines recommend to aim to make half of the grains in your diet whole.
Asparagus is often underrated. Sure, it may make your pee smell strange, but is that a reason to dismiss a very healthy vegetable (12)?
This green veggie has 89 mcg of folate in just four spears. That makes up 29 percent of your daily recommended intake (3).
Asparagus goes well in tons of tasty recipes like soups and many proteins. It’s also great to season with your favorite herbs and spices, cheese, and simply bake it in the oven for 10 minutes.
Summary: Asparagus is another vegetable that is a great source of folate, providing 89 mcg in four spears or 29 percent of the daily recommended intake.
6. Brussel Sprouts
Brussel sprouts are another green vegetable extremely high in folate, as well as other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and vitamin K (13). One serving of brussel sprouts provides 78 mcg of folate or 20 percent of the daily value (3).
Having trouble getting your family to eat Brussel sprouts? Not to worry. Simply bake them with seasonings like garlic powder, salt, and fresh pepper. Then, top them with a homemade balsamic glaze. You can easily heat balsamic with a pinch of brown sugar until it becomes a thick glaze. Top the veggies, and they won’t be able to resist.
Summary: One serving of brussel sprouts provides 78 mcg of folate or 20 percent of the daily value.
7. Romaine Lettuce
Leafy green vegetables are high in folate, including romaine lettuce, which is abundant in folate too.
Just one cup of romaine lettuce has 64 mcg of folate per serving or 16 percent of the daily value (3). Romaine can certainly be a healthy part of your daily diet. Use romaine for your next salad. Or add your favorite protein and use romaine as a sturdy lettuce wrap.
Summary: Just one cup of romaine lettuce has 64 mcg of folate per serving or 16 percent of the daily value.
Did you know avocados have more folate than beef and chicken?
Although chicken and beef are high in B vitamins like vitamin B12, they are on the low end when it comes to folate (3). Only a half a cup of avocado contains 59 mcg of folate per serving or 15 percent of the recommended daily intake (3).
Avocado is also full of vitamin B6, E, K, potassium, healthy fats, and magnesium (14). Add some delicious avocado to your next meal and reap the many health benefits.
Summary: Avocado is another great source of folate, providing 59 mcg of folate per serving or 15 percent of the recommended daily intake.
Spinach is full of folate, too. One cup contains almost as much as a half a cup of avocado at 58 mcg of folate per serving or 15 percent of the daily value (3).
Utilize spinach for its potent health benefits. Preliminary research suggests that spinach may help lower blood pressure (15). Spinach is extremely high in vitamin K, which is essential for healthy blood clotting, and antioxidants (16), (17).
Summary: One cup of spinach contains 58 mcg of folate per serving or 15 percent of the daily value.
Just a half a cup of broccoli contains 52 mcg of folate per serving or 13 percent of the daily recommended intake (3).
Broccoli is also a rich source of vitamin K, vitamin A, fiber, and beneficial antioxidants (18).
Add some broccoli to your next meal for the many health benefits. Add it with some beef for a homemade beef and broccoli.
Summary: A half a cup of broccoli contains 52 mcg of folate per serving or 13 percent of the daily recommended intake.
11. Green Peas
Similar to black-eyed peas, green peas are legumes. They are also high in folate, with 47 mcg in just half a cup or 12 percent of the daily value (3).
Consumption of legumes, including peas, is associated with decreased risk for heart disease (19). Heart-healthy green peas are also high in potassium and magnesium (20).
Green peas are easy to add to many dishes too. Mix them into pasta with onions, garlic, and marinara sauce for a tasty Italian meal.
Summary: Peas are high in folate, with 47 mcg in just half a cup or 12 percent of the daily value.
12. Kidney Beans
Only a half a cup of kidney beans contains 46 mcg of folate per serving or 12 percent of the daily value (3).
Kidney beans are a healthy addition to most diets. They’re high in soluble fiber, protein, and B vitamins (21).
Summary: Kidney beans contains 46 mcg of folate per serving or 12 percent of the daily value.
Wheat germ is an excellent source of thiamin, folate, vitamin E, potassium, and more (22).
It has 40 mcg of folate in just two tablespoons (3). Wheat germ is often in cereals, granola, and cornbread. You can even eat it raw. If you have an allergy to wheat or celiac disease, it’s best to avoid wheat germ (23).
Summary: Two tablespoons of wheat germ contain 40 mcg of folate or 10 percent of the daily value.
14. Tomato Juice
Just 3/4 cup of tomato juice has 36 mcg of folate or 9 percent of the daily recommended intake (3). Tomato juice is a great way to get more folate into your diet.
Besides folate, tomato juice is also a rich source of potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A. The vitamin A in tomato juice helps to maintain eye health (24). Vitamin C and lycopene are just two antioxidants in tomato juice (25).
Summary: Tomato juice provides 36 mcg of folate in one 3/4 cup serving or 9 percent of the daily value. It also a rich source of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and antioxidants.
Crab is also high in folate, and many other vitamins and minerals. Three ounces of crab contains 36 mcg of folate per serving or 9 percent of the daily value (3). It is also a wonderful source of protein, magnesium, and calcium (26).
Summary: Crab provides 36 mcg of folate per serving or 9 percent of the daily value.
16. Fortified Foods
Foods made from fortified grains like bread, cereal, and spaghetti are often high in B vitamins like folate. Cereal has the highest amounts of folate with 25 percent of the daily recommended intake, with 100 mcg of folate (3).
These grains are fortified because they have been refined. Refined grains have had some of their nutrients removed, and fortification adds back in some of the lost nutrients but not all (27). However, fortifying grains with folate have helped to reduce the frequency of babies being born with birth defects from folate deficiency (28).
Summary: Foods made from fortified grains, like bread, cereal, and spaghetti, are good sources of folate.
Folate or folic acid is a necessary essential nutrient that the body cannot create on its own (29). We must get folate from food or supplements. Pregnant women especially need folate or folic acid in order for the fetus to properly develop (30). We must get folate from food or supplements.
Count how many foods on this list you incorporate in your daily diet. Does it feel like you getting enough from your diet? If you are concerned you are not getting adequate folate in your diet, reach out to your doctor or dietitian and see how they can help you fill gaps in your diet or supplement.