Top 5 Folic Acid Foods
Dietary folic acid is not enough so doctors suggest supplements-Follow folate rich diet to supplement your supplements!
Folic acid, also known as Folate, is a B complex Vitamin (B9), which is very important for the human body. It aids essential body functions like creating red blood cells, regulating metabolism and synthesizing DNA.
While everyone needs to consume foods that are high in folic acid, this is all the more important for pregnant women. During pregnancy, your body requires a high amount of serum folate, for fetal development. The deficiency of folic acid in pregnant women has been known to cause major birth defects in babies, which include Spina Bifida and Anencephay. Unfortunately, these problems are irreversible and therefore, to reduce the risks of such birth defects do make sure that you get between 400mcg and 800mcg of folic acid per day (as advised by your doctor).
Your body does not produce any folic acid on its own and therefore, it is essential that your diet is high in folate-rich foods. Given below is a list of 5 foods that contain the highest amounts of folic acid –
- Beans and legumes: Almost all the varieties of peas, beans and lentils contain high amounts of folic acid. You can get your daily recommended dose of this vitamin just by consuming a small to medium sized bowl of beans and legumes. Some of the beans that contain the highest amount of Folic acid include green beans, split peas, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, peas, lima beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans and black-eyed peas.
- Dark, leafy greens: It is a well-known fact that leafy greens are high in vitamins, minerals antioxidants and phytonutrients. Leafy veggies of the darker green variety contain high levels of folate too. Always lightly cook these vegetables for a couple of minutes, to release the folate within. However, avoid cooking leafy greens for a long time, as they are sensitive to heat; prolonged cooking can reduce the levels of folate in the food significantly. Green leafy veggies that contain high amounts of folic acid include spinach, kale, bok choy, mustard greens, asparagus and broccoli.
- Citrus fruits: While several types of fruits contain folic acid, the citric ones are the highest in folate, especially oranges. You can get 50mcg from one just orange and perhaps up to 4 times that much from one large glass of fresh (homemade) orange juice. In case you plan to substitute oranges with packaged orange juice, read the labels carefully to ensure that it has been fortified with additional folate. Also, make sure that your diet includes folic acid-rich fruits, such as papayas, grapes, cantaloupes, bananas, grapefruit, raspberries and strawberries.
- Avocado: A staple vegetable of Mexican cuisine, avocadoes contain up to 90mcg of folic acid, per cup. This means that you can get almost a quarter of your daily folate requirement by eating one serving. Add avocado to your daily diet, in the form of a sandwich, salad or dip. This veggie also contains high amounts of Vitamin K, fatty acids and dietary fiber.
- Nuts and seeds: Increase the nutritional value and folate content of your meals by adding just one small serving of seeds to them. You have a wide variety to choose from, such as flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. Nuts like almonds and peanuts are extremely high in folic acid too. Just one cup of peanuts, sunflower seeds and flaxseed could contain up to 300mcg of folate. However, check with your doctor for the appropriate serving sizes.
Fortunately, you do not need to worry about an overdose of this vitamin, as it is water-soluble and the excess will be eliminated in your urine. However, do not take any folic acid supplement without first checking with your doctor.