Folic Acid-Rich Foods

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 11/12/2023

Folate is one of the most essential nutrients the human body requires for proper functioning. Also known as vitamin B9, it is required by people of all ages, especially pregnant women. If you are experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, neurological problems, mouth ulcers, and weakness, there is a high chance you may be deficient in folate.

Note that health conditions caused by folate deficiency can be life-threatening. They can impact your health and cause immense discomfort. The good thing is folate deficiency can be easily prevented by consuming foods that contain folic acid.

In this blog, we are listing 11 amazing natural sources of folic acid that not only treat folate deficiency but also offer several other benefits to your body. Read on!

What Is Folate and Folic Acid?

Folate, or vitamin B9, is a vital nutrient that is responsible for proper cell growth and red blood cell formation. While it is essential for everyone, it is extremely important for pregnant women in their early stages of pregnancy.

This important vitamin is found in natural food sources, including dark green leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, fruits and a few animal sources as well.

Coming to folic acid, it is a synthetic form of folate. It is a crucial part of prenatal vitamins and is found in various fortified foods such as pasta and cereals.

Why Should You Include Folic Acid in Your Diet?

Not consuming recommended levels of folate or folic acid can lead to folate deficiency, which can further result in many serious complications. Some of them are as follows:

Anaemia: As mentioned above, folate is responsible for the healthy formation and functioning of red blood cells. It means the lack of folate in your body can lead to anaemia.

It is a condition when your body doesn’t produce enough RBCs, the vital cells that supply oxygen to the parts of your body. Besides, folate deficiency can also force your body to produce abnormal (too large or small) red blood cells that do not function properly.

Birth Defects: One of the primary reasons why folate is highly recommended for pregnant ladies is because its deficiency can lead to many complications, including birth defects in the newborn baby.

Note that folate plays a crucial role in the development of the fetus's spinal cord and brain. A deficiency of folate can lead to problems like premature delivery, placental abruption, and low birth weight and can even result in autism in the newborn.

Other Severe Complications: Apart from the conditions mentioned above, folate deficiency can also result in several other health conducted, including the following:

Depression and Anxiety

Infertility

Cardiovascular Diseases

Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia

Certain types of Cancer

Poor Cognitive Ability

Top 11 Folic Acid Rich Foods

As you can see, folate deficiency can be very dangerous to your body and overall health. The best way to treat it is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Having said that, the following are some of the best folic acid food items you must include in your diet to maintain the required levels of folate in your body:

Animal Liver

One of the best foods high in folic acid is the animal liver. You will be amazed to know that just a single serving of cooked animal liver (85 grams) can fulfil your daily folate requirement. Not just folate or vitamin B9, animal liver is also a rich source of many other nutrients such as vitamin A, Vitamin B12, protein, copper and more. If you are a bodybuilder, then you must include cooked liver in your diet to build a lean muscle mass and grow an organic and sustainable body.

Other Benefits of Animal Liver

It may improve fertility in males.

Great for skin and hair.

Eggs

Eggs are undoubtedly the best superfood. They are a rich source of protein, good fats, and, most importantly, folate. They are easily available and fulfil around 6% of your daily folate intake. The best part is you can include them in any meal, breakfast, lunch or dinner. They even work great as a healthy snack. So, if you eat poultry, consume 4-5 eggs every day to meet your daily folate intake.

Other Benefits of Eggs:

It may reduce fatigue and lethargy.

Helps in building immunity

Keeps full for longer.

Curb cravings

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, sweet lime, and grapefruits are known for their higher content of Vitamin C. However, they are excellent natural sources of folic acid and vitamin B9 as well.

You will be surprised to know that one large orange alone can serve you with 55 micrograms of folate. Besides, citrus fruits are packed with essential antioxidants that keep your immune system strong and healthy.

Other Benefits of Citrus Fruits:

Great for skin

Improves appetite

Builds immunity

Green Leafy Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables, including amaranth leaves, spinach, Brussels sprouts, and romaine lettuce, are some of the best folic acid-rich foods for pregnancy. They prevent iron deficiency and help in the proper growth of the baby.

Note that consuming just half a cup of cooked spinach can serve you with 131 micrograms of folate. You can have it as a salad or incorporate it in your stir-fries, sandwiches, chapatis, and even in smoothies.

In fact, a spinach smoothie is one of the healthiest and most delicious breakfast options. You can easily prepare it by blending together blanched spinach, a banana, a handful of berries, and a splash of milk or yoghurt, along with a dash of honey.

Other Benefits of Leafy Greens

Help in achieving clear skin.

Reduce inflammation

Protect against harmful UV rays.

Legumes

For those who don't know, legumes are basically the fruits or seeds of plants belonging to the Favaceae family, including beans, peas, and lentils. Besides being the richest sources of proteins and micronutrients, they contain good amounts of folate.

No doubt, a cup of cooked lentils can fulfil about 90% of your daily folate intake. Not just folate, legumes have a higher fibre content that aids digestion and improves your gut health.

Other Benefits of Legumes

Lower blood pressure.

It may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Improves digestion

Relieves constipation

Slow down ageing

Prevents cell damage

Regulate blood sugar

Beetroot

Besides adding a burst of colour to various dishes and desserts, beetroot offers several other health benefits. Not only are they a good source of folate, but they also supply many other essential nutrients such as manganese, Vitamin C, potassium, and micronutrients such as nitrates.

You can get about 37% of your daily recommended folate value by eating a cup of raw beetroot. If you are wondering about the ways to include beets in your daily diet, there are many delicious healthy recipes you can try.

For starters, you can add blanched and grated beetroot to a cup of curd, add some seasonings, and have it as a side dish. Similarly, you can make the popular ABC juice by juicing out a beet with an apple and a carrot. If you want to do a little extra, you can make beet pancakes and even muffins.

Other Benefits of Beetroot

Improves complexion

Detoxify body

Improves digestion

Seeds and Nuts

About 28 grams of walnuts provide the same micrograms of folate, i.e. 28 mcg. Similarly, the same amount of almonds can help you meet 6 to 7% of your daily folate requirements. That’s about folate, but there are plenty of other reasons to include seeds and nuts in your daily diet.

Nuts and seeds like cashews, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, etc., are rich in healthy fats, vitamins, protein, and fibre. There are endless ways to consume nuts and seeds. You can prepare a seed mix and have it daily with your fruits or salads. For nuts, you can soak them overnight and eat them empty stomach in the morning for best results.

Other Benefits of Nuts and Seeds

Loaded with antioxidants

Lowers blood pressure

May reduce bad cholesterol

Improves skin and nails

Wheat Germ

Wheat germ is the outer part of the wheat kernel. It is one of the best folate-rich foods in India.

Not just that, it contains the highest amount of fibre and works wonders for your digestion and blood sugar levels. Sadly, this part is removed during the milling process.

On top of it, most of us have a habit of sifting the wheat flour, which removes the wheat germ to a great extent. If you want to prevent folate deficiency, then try consuming wheat germ or coarse-grind wheat flour instead of super fine flour.

Other Benefits of Wheat Germ

Lowers cholesterol

Controls diabetes

Relieves gas and bloating

Helps with constipation

Papaya

The list of folic acid fruits will be incomplete without mentioning papaya in it. This soft tropical fruit is not only tasty but also packed with enough folate. You can fulfil about 13% of your daily folate intake by consuming a cup of raw papaya.

Besides folate, raw papaya is also rich in carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium and some other antioxidants. It boosts your gut health and keeps your skin clear and glowing.

The best way to consume raw papaya is to have it in the form of salad. All you need to do is grate some raw papaya, add lime juice, salt and pepper and have it. It is super healthy and delicious.

Note that raw papaya should be avoided by pregnant women. While there is no scientific evidence, it is believed that consuming unripe papaya may result in miscarriage or induce early labour.

Other Benefits of Papaya

Reduces risk of heart problems

Regulate cholesterol levels

Packed with antioxidants

Fortified Grains

There are many types of fortified grains, such as pasta and bread, that are fortified to improve their folate content.

Although the amount of folate present in such food items varies from product to product, they can easily supply 20-25% of daily folate requirements.

And since the fortified folate-rich food items are already processed, they are sometimes better absorbed as compared to folate from natural sources.

Other Benefits of Fortified Grains

Helps in meeting dietary needs

Good for bones and joints

Mangoes

Finally, there is mango, one of the most delicious folic acid fruits that can provide you with 144 mcg of folate in a single serving.

This tasty and juicy fruit is great for your digestive system as well. You can enjoy it on its own or add it to your smoothies and milkshakes for a refreshing yet healthy meal.

Other Benefits of Mango

Good for eyes.

Boost immunity.

It may regulate blood sugar levels.

Should You Consume Folate Supplements?

The best way to consume folate is to have it from its natural sources. In this way, you will be able to meet your daily folate requirements and prevent folate deficiency. However, if you are already diagnosed with such a condition, your doctor may prescribe you some external folate supplements. You can consume them as per your doctor’s suggestions.

Avoid using folate or any other supplement without consulting a trusted healthcare professional, as it can have severe side effects.

Final Thoughts

Folate deficiency can be dangerous to anyone, irrespective of their age and health condition. Hence, it is important to prevent it.

We have mentioned several folic acid-rich food items that can help you meet your daily folate intake and improve your overall health. We hope this blog helps!

Buy the Best Health Insurance to Cover Your Medical Expenses

Folate deficiency can lead to many serious health problems, including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, heart problems, higher blood pressure, and more. While it is possible to prevent these complications by consuming folate-rich foods, it is advisable to have financial coverage that can help you deal with any potential medical emergency.

Buy Tata AIG health insurance plan to ensure financial stability and security in the face of any unforeseen event. Our medical insurance plans offer benefits like cashless treatment, broad coverage, affordable premiums, and more.

So, what are you waiting for? Compare health insurance policies and buy the right one for yourself and your family.

FAQS

What are the side effects of eating a lot of folic acid?

Excess of anything is injurious to health. The same goes for folic acid. If you consume folic acid excessively, you might experience symptoms like diarrhoea, cramps, mood changes, difficulty sleeping, etc.

Which fruit is high in folic acid?

Fruits such as bananas, mangoes, papayas, oranges, etc., are great folic acid fruits to include in your daily diet.

Can folate cause weight gain?

Currently, there is no evidence that proves that folate can increase weight.

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