Top Foods High in Folic Acid for Pregnant MothersGetting all the right nutrients during your pregnancy can be tough, and folic acid is an important one not to miss. We’ve outlined 20 ways to incorporate folic acid into your diet and reach your daily needs.
LegumesImage via flickr The number one way to increase your folic acid intake is to add legumes to your diet. Legumes are one of the best foods high in folic acid with one cup supplying 358 mcg of folic acid, accounting for a whopping 90% of your daily value. Pinto beans also provide a hefty amount to your folic acid intake by supplying 74% of your daily value with 294 mcg per serving. It’s not just lentils and pinto beans that will help you achieve your daily folic acid needs. Black beans, chickpeas, green beans, peas, and kidney beans all contribute a significant amount to your daily folic acid needs.
Dark Leafy GreensImage via flickr It should come as no shock here that leafy greens are one of the best ways to get any type of nutrient your body is craving. In addition to being one of the healthiest foods in the world, leafy greens are also incredibly high in folic acid. Adding a cup of spinach into your diet supplies 263 mcg of folic acid or 63% of your daily value. Collard greens and turnip greens both supply 170 mcg per cup and account for 42% of your daily value. The more popular, but less nutrient dense romaine lettuce still accounts for 19% of your folic acid supply with 76 mcg per cup
AsparagusImage via flickr If you’re looking to up your folic acid amount by a lot and do it quickly, look no further than asparagus. Asparagus is the kind of nutrient-dense vegetables with folic acid being no exception. Eating a single cup of lightly steamed asparagus provides 262 mcg of folic acid which accounts for 65% of your daily needs. Single the vegetable is so long, you’ll probably eat a cup or two without even realizing it. In addition to being a powerhouse for folic acid, asparagus is rich with the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to survive. Asparagus provides vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, and manganese.
EggsImage via flickr Increasing the number of eggs in your diet is an excellent way to increase your folic acid intake. One egg supplies 24 mcg of folic acid, accounting for about 6% of your daily folic acid recommendations. Whether you eat your eggs scrambled, fried, or hard-boiled, you can get the folic acid benefits any way you cook them. Eggs are also a great source of protein, vitamins, and antioxidants. Adding them into your diet is easy. Put an egg onto your morning toast, top a salad with a hard-boiled egg, or enjoy an omelet in the morning.
Brussels SproutsImage via flickr This nutritious and cruciferous vegetable is very similar to broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and cabbage. Because of this, the nutritional benefits are generally pretty similar, making Brussel sprouts also a great source of folic acid. Only a half cup of folic acid will get you 47 mcg of folic acid which counts as 12% of your daily recommended value. In addition to having a ton of folic acid, this vegetable is a great source of vitamins and minerals. Next time you make a meal, try adding some Brussel sprouts as a side dish to get excellent nutrition benefits.
BeetsImage via flickr Beets don’t just add a pop of color to your dishes; they also add a ton of nutrients. Beets are rich in manganese, potassium, and vitamin C to help keep your body strong and immune to attack. Beets are also an amazing source of folic acid. Just a single cup will get you 148 mcg, or 37% of your daily folic acid recommendation. This versatile vegetable can be eaten as a side dish, incorporated into salads, squeezed into juice or even disguised in a dessert. If you’re looking for a fun way to get into the kitchen while also increasing your folic acid intake, give beets a try.
Citrus FruitsImage via flickr Almost all fruits contain a high amount of folic acid. However, citrus fruits are where you’re going to get the most folic acid per serving. Oranges are at the top of the list for fruits high in folic acid. Eating one orange can provide 50 mcg per serving which accounts for 10% of your daily value. By adding an orange into your daily snack routine, you can significantly impact the amount of folic acid you’re getting. Grapefruit is also high in folic acid. Eating one grapefruit boosts your folic acid daily value by 8%. Similarly, strawberries and raspberries provide 6.5% and 4% per cup respectively. By adding fresh fruits or fresh fruit juice into your diet, you’ll effortlessly increase your folic acid intake.
BroccoliImage via flickr If you’re ever detoxed or cleansed before, chances are you already know the amazing health benefits of broccoli. It’s one of the most amazing detoxifying foods you can eat. In addition, it’s also a great source of folic acid. Just a cup of broccoli provides you with 26% of your daily allotment of folic acid and a myriad of other nutritional benefits. Like many other vegetables, broccoli loses some of its nutritional value when cooked. If possible, eat broccoli raw to get the maximum amount of benefits. If you really don’t like the taste of raw broccoli, you can lightly steam it as well, so you’re not cooking all the nutrition away.
Nuts and SeedsImage via flickr There are tons of reasons to start adding nuts and seeds to your diet. They serve as a great source of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and supply your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs to get through the day. In addition, adding nuts and seeds to your diet will also help you reach your folic acid needs. In just one ounce of walnuts, there are 28 mcg of folic acid or about 7% of your recommended daily value. Flax seeds are also a great source of folic acid, with one ounce providing 24 mcg or 6% of your daily value.
Beef LiverImage via flickr While it may not be the most popular and widely consumed option on the market right now, beef liver is a great way to get a ton of folic acid without having to eat a mass amount of food. This concentrated source of folic acid contains 212 mcg of folic acid in just a 3-ounce serving. That’s 54% of your daily value. Additionally, eating beef liver can also increase your intake of vitamin A and vitamin B12 which are essential in the body.
PapayaImage via flickr This tropical fruit is abundant in nutritional benefits, including folic acid. One cup of papaya contains 115 mcg of folic acid, accounting for 29% of your daily value. By slicing up some papaya and enjoying it as a snack, you can increase your folic acid intake without adding a lot of calories to your diet. In addition, papaya is also very much is fiber to keep you healthy and regular. Papaya improves digestion, protects against arthritis, and boosts immunity. This fruit is great for your overall health. Experience a multitude of health benefits when you enjoy this folic acid rich food.
Wheat GermImage via flickr Wheat germ is the premature phase of the wheat kernel before it fully matures. Wheat germ is often removed when milling, but can also be purchased separately at grocery stores. Just a single ounce of wheat germ accounts for 79 mcg of folic acid which provides 20% of your daily recommended value. Wheat germ is also an excellent source of fiber with an ounce providing 16% of your recommended daily value. Fiber helps to cleanse the body and move stool through the GI tract to promote a regular and healthy body. Although this isn’t the most common food to find laying around the pantry, it’s worth the trouble of going out to buy it in order to get these awesome nutritional benefits.
BananasImage via flickr Bananas come with a wide variety of nutritional benefits. While we all know that bananas are rich in potassium, they’re also rich with folic acid. One medium sized banana will provide you with 24 mcg of folic acid accounting for 6% of your daily value. Bananas are also rich in antioxidants, support heart health and improve digestive health. While you may only be looking to increase your folic acid intake, getting into the routine of adding a banana to your everyday snack list can give you all sorts of health benefits.
Fortified GrainsImage via flickr Fortified grains are the types of grains we’ve all come to know and love. These include bread, pasta, and cereals. Many of these grains have been specially fortified to increase the amount of folic acid per serving. The amount of folic acid depends on the amount of each grain you’re eating. For example, one cup of cooked spaghetti noodles contains 102 mcg of folic acid accounting for 26% of your daily folic acid needs. It’s also worth noting that some studies have shown that folic acid from fortified foods is more easily absorbed into the body. If you’re on a mission to increase your folic acid supply, this is something to keep in mind.
AvocadoImage via flickr Avocado, also known as Instagram’s and Millennials favorite food. Not only does this popular food make trendy toasts and a great salad topping, but it also provides a substantial amount of folic acid into your diet. One cup accounts for 28% of your daily needs by providing 110 mcg of folic acid per serving. By adding avocado into your diet, you will reap a ton of benefits. This food is a great fatty acid source, provides a ton of vitamins, and are a good source of fiber. Add them to sandwiches, salads, or enjoy avocados on their own for a healthy and delicious snack.
OkraImage via flickr The vegetable with the highest slime content is also a contender for the vegetable with the highest folic acid content. Okra is so nutrient-rich, it offers a ton of vitamins and minerals that act as cleansing agents for the body. When it comes to folic acid, okra does not let you down. Just a half cup of cooked okra provides 103 mcg of folic acid accounting for 26% of your daily folic acid value. This is amazing news for pregnant mothers looking for an easy way to get folic acid. Next time you make a meal, add okra to your list of side dishes and get a ton of nutritional benefits in return.
CauliflowerImage via flickr This trending vegetable is typically praised for its high vitamin C benefits. However, cauliflower is also one of the best foods high in folic acid, making this vegetable a double-whammy. A single cup of cauliflower provides 55 mcg of folic acid or 14% of your daily value. With the growing popularity of cauliflower, it’s easy to incorporate this multi-functional vegetable into your diet. Cauliflower pizza crusts are booming in the foodie community as a way to cut carbs and get more vegetables in your diet. Similarly, cauliflower sandwich thins and cauliflower rice are also growing popular as food substitutions. By taking advantage of this growing trend, you can easily increase the amount of folic acid in your diet.
CornImage via flickr Corn is a festive and popular vegetable that can easily increase your daily value of folic acid. Just a single cup of cooked corn will provide you with 34mcg of folic acid, accounting for roughly 9% of your daily folic acid value. Fresh corn will give you more nutrients and more folic acid than if you opt for the canned option. Corn is a great vegetable to squeeze in some extra folic acid because it’s so easy to incorporate into your meal. Eat in on the cob, on the side of your dish, or pour some corn over your meal to get an extra dose of folic acid.
SquashImage via flickr Zucchini, pumpkin, and summer squash…the nutritional benefits of this vegetable are as diverse as the vegetable itself. If you cook this vegetable right, it’s delicious! Squash makes a great side dish, topping for salads, or noodle substitute. Whatever kind of squash tickles your fancy, you’ll be sure you’re getting an increase in your daily folic acid intake by eating it. A single cup of winter squash provides 41 mcg of folic acid per serving, accounting for 21% of your daily value. Additionally, a cup of summer squash provides 33 mcg per serving and accounts for 8% of your daily value of folic acid.
CarrotsImage via flickr Carrots are a very common vegetable that you might even have in your refrigerator right now. By eating just a single cup of raw carrots a day, you can get 5% of your daily needs for folic acid. Enjoy sliced carrots as a snack throughout the day, or add them to a salad and you’ll easily increase the amount of folic acid you get in a day. Remember that cooking or steaming the carrots decreases the nutrients you’re getting. To maximize the nutritional benefits and the folic acid supply of carrots, be sure to eat them raw.
The Bottom Line
While making any diet change is never easy, incorporating more folic acid into your diet doesn’t have to be another large burden on your pregnancy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has taken steps to fortify all types of foods that we eat regularly today so that even mothers with unplanned pregnancies can start getting their folic acid fix as soon as possible.
By adding some of the fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes that we’ve mentioned here today into your diet, you’re ensuring a happy and healthy pregnancy both for you and your baby.
If you’re worried about your own folic acid intake, talk with your doctor or look into purchasing a daily vitamin with folic acid in it so you can fill the gaps in your folic acid intake as soon as possible.