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When it comes to the healthy growth and development of the baby in their womb, pregnant women never leave any stone unturned with regards to their diet. Consuming a diet rich in essential nutrients not only ensures the wholesome development of their baby but their own physical and mental wellbeing as well. Folic acid or vitamin B9 is one such water-soluble vitamin that is particularly essential in a pregnant womanâ€™s diet as its deficiency can result in neural tube defects and abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord in the fetus. Folate is needed by the body to perform multiple functions like cell division and growth, and DNA synthesis and repair. A lack of folic acid in the diet can even cause anemia in adults and hinder development in children.
Here is a List of the Top 20 Foods High in Folic Acid That You Must Include in Your Diet:
1. Leafy Greens:
No surprises why leafy greens top this list. A store house of copious vitamins and minerals like folate, vitamins K and C, iron and calcium, leafy greens are arguably the healthiest foods out there. Leafy greens that are the richest sources of folic acid include spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens and romaine lettuce.
Apart from offering generous doses of fiber and protein, half a cup of lentils also provide 180 mcg of folate - approximately half of its DV. Whatâ€™s better, they are low in calories and a much healthier source of protein than meat.
Avocados have earned immense popularity as a health food in recent times, all for good reason. In addition to being one of the best sources of folic acid, avocados also contain healthy omega-3 fats, vitamin K, and dietary fiber. 100 grams of avocado contains 81 mcg of folate that accounts for 20% of the daily recommended intake of the nutrient. So the next time youâ€™re looking for a sandwich spread or a dip for your snack, grab that bowl of guacamole.
You can find a chockfull of nutrients like vitamins B9, K, C, A, fiber and manganese in a single stick of asparagus. A cup of boiled asparagus provides 262 mcg of folic acid, which caters to almost 65% of your daily folic acid needs.
5. Citrus Fruits:
Vitamin C-packed citrus fruits also make for good sources of folic acid. Oranges primarily offer this nutrient in abundance. A small orange contains 29 mcg of folate that accounts for 7% DV of the nutrient. While you can always enjoy a glass of fresh orange juice to obtain this vitamin, eating the whole fruit provides greater nutritional benefits.
From pasta to pizza to salad, there are numerous ways you can enjoy this deliciously versatile veggie. Half a cup of broccoli contains 52 mcg of folic acid, which offers 13% DV of the nutrient. Broccoli also contains calcium, iron, fiber, vitamins A, C, K, and B6, potassium, and manganese.
7. Brussels Sprouts:
While this may not be the most appetizing of all vegetables out there, it surely is one of the healthiest. One cup of boiled brussels sprouts contains 93.60 mcg or 25% DV of folic acid, making it a very good source of the nutrient. Other nutrients present in the veggie include vitamins C, K, and A, manganese, and potassium.
When preparing a bowl of salad for yourself, donâ€™t forget to add cauliflower to the recipe. Not only is this veggie an excellent source of vitamin C, but also a great source of folic acid. One cup of cauliflower provides 55 mcg of folate or 14% its DV.
9. Beef Liver:
If you are a meat eater, adding beef liver to your diet can be a sensible way to increase your folic acid intake. One serving of beef liver contains 254 mcg of folic acid, which accounts for 54% DV of the nutrient. Though beef liver is also a rich source of iron, ensure you eat it in moderation as it is also very high in cholesterol.
10. Fortified Cereal:
Love eating cereal? Youâ€™re in luck! Some fortified cereals contain approximately 100 to 300 mcg of folic acid per half cup serving. Ensure you check the labels of the cereal before purchasing it to ensure that it accounts for at least 40% DV of folate.
Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there. They offer proteins, omega-3 fats, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, choline, biotin, and folic acid (25 mcg in one small egg). Both choline and folic acid are essential for the babyâ€™s mental and physical development, thereby making eggs an important part of a pregnancy diet.
12. Black Eyed Peas:
There are myriad ways to include black-eyed peas in your diet. Half a cup of black-eyed peas contains approximately 104 mcg of folic acid, which accounts for 26% DV of the nutrient.
13. Enriched Pasta:
A popular Mediterranean culinary favorite, enriched pasta, in addition to treating the taste buds also contributes to improved health and wellbeing. It contains energy-providing carbs, fiber, and approximately 100 mcg of folic acid. The whole wheat variety, especially, makes a good dietary inclusion.
This exotic tasting fruit offers a marriage of great flavor and healthful benefits. It is a good source of essential vitamins A and C that have antioxidant benefits. It also provides a healthy dose of folate. One-quarter of a medium sized cantaloupe contains 25 mcg folic acid.
15. Sunflower Seeds:
If you are looking for a filling and healthy snack, make sure you carry a box of sunflower seeds with you at all times. They contain healthy fats, vitamin E, magnesium, folic acid and many other nutrients. An ounce of sunflower seeds accounts for 20% of DV of folic acid.
Add it to smoothies, mix it with your salad or just munch on a spoonful daily - there're many ways you can derive the benefits of this nutritional powerhouse. One table spoon of flaxseeds provides 3% DV of folic acid. Flaxseed is a rich source of fiber, vitamin E, and other antioxidants.
Banana also features amongst one of the healthiest folic acid rich foods. Being a great source of fiber, bananas keep your gut in good shape. They are also rich in potassium and protein. One medium-sized banana contains 23.6 mcg or 6% DV of folic acid.
18. Roasted Soybeans:
A popular vegan delicacy, soybeans are yet another great source of folic acid. Just half a cup of roasted soybeans can provide 176.3 mcg or 44% of DV of folic acid. High doses of folic acid in your diet can also help provide you with a mood-boost.
This tropical fruit is known as the king of fruits for reasons far too many. Not only is it delicious, but also extremely healthful. 11 grams of mango contains 43 mcg or 11% DV of folic acid. Mango is also rich in vitamins B6 (pyridoxine), C, A, and E.
Probably the best thing about this vegetable is that it can be enjoyed raw, so its nutritional value remains intact. A cup of raw carrots provides 5% of DV of folic acid. It also offers fiber, vitamins A, C, and K.
If you are pregnant and would like to know more about the recommended dosage of folic acid for you, you can reach out to some of the finest and top gynecologists in Hyderabad. Which of these foods with folic acid feature in your list of favorites? Do let us know in the comments section below.