What are good sources of folate?

Frances Largeman-Roth, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics

Folate is an important B vitamin that you can find in foods like fortified cereals, fruits, vegetables and nuts. Watch registered dietician Frances Largeman-Roth explain the benefits of folate to pregnancy, heart health and serotonin production.

Many pastas, breads, cereals, grains, and fruit juices produced in the U.S. are fortified with folic acid. Check labels for details. Other food sources include:
  • Spinach, cooked (1 cup) 230 mcg
  • Lentils, cooked (1/2 cup) 80 mcg
  • Papayas (1 medium) 116 mcg
  • Artichokes, cooked (1 medium) 107 mcg
  • Asparagus, boiled (4 spears) 89 mcg
  • Avocados (1/2 medium) 81 mcg
  • Raspberries (1 cup) 65 mcg
  • Black-eyed peas, canned (1/2 cup) 61 mcg
  • Red bell peppers (1 medium) 55 mcg
  • Oranges (1 medium) 39 mcg
  • Shiitake mushrooms, cooked (1/2 cup) 15 mcg
Folate is a water soluble vitamin. There are two forms of the vitamin folate:
  • the naturally occurring folate in foods (such as produce)  and
  • the synthetic form, folic acid, which is added to foods (such as enriched grains) and found in supplements.
(Note: A very small amount of folic acid can occur naturally in foods. But, for practical purposes, folic acid typically refers to the synthetic variety.)

Here's a list of foods rich in folate and folic acid:
  • Dark green leafy vegetables,
  • Enriched pasta, rice, breads and cereals, Legumes
  • Orange juice
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Lettuce
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A quick glance reveals that vegetables and legumes reign in the folate world. While liver is the only folate-rich meat, one serving of these foods provides substantial folate. Listed below are some of the best sources per kcalorie.
  • Brewer's Yeast -- (1 tbsp.)
  • Spinach (1 cup cooked or fresh chopped)
  • Asparagus (1 cup cooked)
  • Turnip Greens (1 cup cooked)
  • Parsley (1 cup chopped fresh)
  • Romaine Lettuce (1 cup cooked)
  • Bok Choy (1 cup cooked)
  • Cauliflower (1 cup cooked)
  • Cabbage (1 cup raw shredded)
Picture of beans
Folate is a B vitamin found in dark green leafy vegetables, dried beans and certain fruits such as oranges and strawberries. Meeting the daily requirement of 400 micrograms per day can be easy if you make sure to consume at least 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables every day.

Most cereals, pasta, breads and grain products are now fortified with folic acid, another form of folate.

For a folate-filled meal, have pasta with asparagus or mix beans with rice. Also, include a variety of fruits in your eating plan. The benefits of folate are worth every bite.

Continue Learning about Vitamin B9

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.