10 Healthy Foods That Are High in Folate

Folate is a B-complex vitamin that's essential for the production of DNA and RNA, so it's needed for normal cell replication and division. A folate deficiency can lead to a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia, in which your blood cells are large and can't carry enough oxygen to the cells in your body. Also, women who are, or may become, pregnant, need folate to reduce the risk of a birth defect called spina bifida.

The average adult needs about 400 micrograms folate every day (pregnant women need about 600 micrograms per day).

Some foods, such as breakfast cereal, enriched white rice or pasta, some brands of orange juice, and products made with white flour, are enriched with several vitamins and minerals, including folate. Lentils (308 mcg per cup) and lima beans (37 mcg per cup) also provide folate. You can also take it as a dietary supplement, but there are a number of foods that are naturally rich in folate. Learn more about our 10 favorite sources of folate.

1

Chicken Liver

Chicken liver is high in folate.
Carl Pendle / Getty Images

Eating chicken liver will provide you with lots of folate as well as vitamin A and the other B-complex vitamins. Each chicken liver has about 47 calories, 7 grams of protein and will give you about 38 percent of your daily need for folate.

2

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Sunflower seeds are high in several minerals and vitamin E as well as folate. One tablespoon of seeds will give you about 5 percent of your daily need for folate, 21 percent of your daily need for vitamin E, and 9 percent of your magnesium.

3

Asparagus

Asparagus

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Asparagus is low in calories but loaded with vitamins and minerals. One cup of cooked asparagus has 2/3 of your daily target for folate and more than a day's worth of vitamin K, for only about 40 calories.

4

Chickpeas

Chickpeas

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Chickpeas are high in protein, fiber, and minerals that your body needs to stay healthy. They're also high in folate. One cup of cooked chickpeas has 72 mcg or 18% of your daily folate needs covered. They're not low in calories—that single cup has 263 calories, but it's perfect as a plant-based protein source for a healthy meal.

5

Turnip Greens

Turnip

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Turnip greens are high in folate as well as fiber and several essential nutrients including calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. They're also super low in calories at 53 calories per cup of cooked greens. And about that folate? One cup will meet 53.8 mcg or 13% percent of your daily needs.

6

Spinach

Spinach

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Spinach is another green leafy vegetable that's high in folate and so much more, including iron, calcium, and potassium, vitamin, A, C, and K, and fiber. One cup of raw spinach cover 15 percent of your daily folate need, and it's also low in calories — only seven calories. One cup of cooked spinach has 308 mcg of folate or 77% of your folate requirement and provides only 49 calories. The reason for the substantial difference in folate between raw and cooked spinach is due to the fact that it cooks down substantially. It takes a lot of raw spinach to make a cup of cooked spinach.

7

Peanuts

Peanuts

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Here's a healthy snack that's high in folate, vitamin E, healthy monounsaturated fats, and several minerals. One ounce (about 32 shelled peanuts) will give you 17% percent of your daily recommended intake of folate. It also has about 161 calories, so it's perfect as an afternoon snack.

8

Brussels Sprouts

Brussel sprouts

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Brussels sprouts are high in most vitamins and several minerals, plus they're a good source of dietary fiber. One cup gives you almost a quarter of your daily recommended intake for only 56 calories.

9

Endive

Endive is high in folate.
Jennifer Greco / Getty Images

There's a trend here with green leafy veggies, and even ones we haven't mentioned (like kale and collards) are good sources. Here's a lovely green that'll give you nine percent of your daily folate need for only six calories. You'll also get plenty of vitamins A and K and lots of flavor with a cup of endive.

10

Black-Eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas are high in folate.
Alejandro Rivera / Getty Images

Black-eyed peas are loaded with protein and fiber, plus lots of minerals. They're not too high in calories at 180 per cup. And you'll get 12% of your folate requirement with one cup.

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  1. Lentils, from dried, no added fat. USDA FoodData Central. Updated 10/30/2020

  2. Lima beans, from canned. USDA FoodData Central. Updated 10/30/2020

  3. Chickpeas, from canned, no added fat. USDA FoodData Central. Updated 10/30/2020

  4. Turnip greens and turnips, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. USDA FoodData Central. Updated 4/1/2019

  5. Spinach, fresh, cooked, no added fat. USDA FoodData Central. Updated 10/30/2020

  6. Peanuts, unroasted. USDA FoodData Central. Updated 10/30/2020

  7. Organic Black Eyes Peas. USDA FoodData Central. Updated 8/17/2020

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