Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin B9 (Folate)

Written by Daisy Whitbread, MScN
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Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin B9 (Folate)

Vitamin B9 (folate) is required for numerous body functions including DNA synthesis and repair, cell division, and cell growth. (1)

Folic acid is the synthetic form of vitamin B9 found in fortified foods, like cereals, and supplements. (1)

A deficiency of folate can lead to anemia in adults and slower development in children. For pregnant women, folate is especially important for proper fetal development. (1)

High folate foods include beans, lentils, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, avocado, mangoes, lettuce, sweet corn, and oranges, and whole wheat bread. (2) The current daily value (% DV) for folate (Vitamin B9) is 400μg. (3)

Below are the 10 best foods high in folate, for more see the complete list of over 200 foods high in folate.


List of High Folate Foods

Green Soybeans (Edamame)

#1: Edamame (Green Soybeans)

Folate
per Cup
Folate
per 100g
Folate
per 200 Calories
482μg
(121% DV)
311μg
(78% DV)
514μg
(129% DV)

More Soy Products High in Folate

-18% DV in 1 cup of firm tofu
-12% DV in a 16oz glass of soymilk
Lentils

#2: Lentils

Folate
per Cup
Folate
per 100g
Folate
per 200 Calories
358μg
(90% DV)
181μg
(45% DV)
312μg
(78% DV)

Beans High in Folate

-92% DV in 1 cup of roman beans
-89% DV in 1 cup of black-eyed peas
-74% DV in 1 cup of pinto beans
-71% DV in 1 cup of chickpeas
-64% DV in 1 cup of black beans

See all beans high in folate.
Asparagus

#3: Asparagus

Folate
per Cup Cooked
Folate
per 100g
Folate
per 200 Calories
268μg
(67% DV)
149μg
(37% DV)
1355μg
(339% DV)
A Bowl of Spinach

#4: Spinach

Folate
per Cup Cooked
Folate
per 100g
Folate
per 200 Calories
263μg
(66% DV)
146μg
(37% DV)
1270μg
(317% DV)

More Dark Leafy Greens High in Folate

-42% DV in 1 cup of cooked turnip greens
-17% DV per cup of cooked Pak Choi
-8%DV in 1 cup of cooked collard greens

See all 200 vegetables high in folate.
Broccoli Stalk

#5: Broccoli

Folate
per Cup Cooked
Folate
per 100g
Folate
per 200 Calories
168μg
(42% DV)
108μg
(27% DV)
617μg
(154% DV)
Half an avocado

#6: Avocados

Folate
per Avocado
Folate
per 100g
Folate
per 200 Calories
163μg
(41% DV)
81μg
(20% DV)
101μg
(25% DV)
Mangoes

#7: Mangos

Folate
per Cup
Folate
per 100g
Folate
per 200 Calories
71μg
(18% DV)
43μg
(11% DV)
143μg
(36% DV)

More Fruits High in Folate

-20% DV in 1 cup of guavas
-17% DV in 1 cup of pomegranate
-13% DV in 1 cup of papaya
-11% DV in 1 cup of sliced kiwifruit
-10% DV in 1 cup of sliced strawberries

See all fruits high in folate.
Lettuce

#8: Lettuce

Folate
per Cup
Folate
per 100g
Folate
per 200 Calories
64μg
(16% DV)
136μg
(34% DV)
1600μg
(400% DV)

More Salad Greens High in Folate

-18% DV per cup of endive
-10% DV in 1 cup of butterhead lettuce
-10% DV in 1 cup of garden cress

See all 200 vegetables high in folate.
Yellow Sweet Corn

#9: Sweet Corn

Folate
per Cup Cooked
Folate
per 100g
Folate
per 200 Calories
61μg
(15% DV)
42μg
(11% DV)
98μg
(24% DV)
Slices of orange

#10: Oranges

Folate
per Cup
Folate
per 100g
Folate
per 200 Calories
54μg
(14% DV)
30μg
(8% DV)
128μg
(32% DV)

See All 200 Foods High in Folate (B9)

Printable One Page Sheet

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A printable list of foods high in folate. High folate foods include beans, lentils, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, avocado, mangoes, lettuce, sweet corn, and oranges, and whole wheat bread.

How Much Folate Do You Need?

The current daily value (%DV) for folate is 400μg per day (3) and is meant as a general measure for all people. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) and adequate intake (AI) are more refined measures which account for age and life situation. (1)

In the case of folate, the DV is much higher than the AI and RDA to account for problems with absorption, and because excess folate easily managed by the body.

Here are the RDAs and AIs for Folate. The AI is for infants and the RDA for anyone older. (1)
AI:
  • Birth - 6 months: 65μg
  • 7 - 12 months: 80μg

RDA:
  • 1 - 3 years: 80μg
  • 4 - 8 years: 65μg
  • 9 - 13 years: 80μg
  • 14 - 18 years: 65μg
  • 19+ years: 80μg
  • Pregnancy: 600μg
  • Lactaction: 500μg

Health Benefits of Folate (Vitamin B9)

  • Protection Against Heart Disease - Adequate levels of vitamin B9, B6, and B12 have been shown to lower levels of a protein in the blood: homocysteine. Lower levelsof homocysteine has been shown to improve endothelial function, which in turn may boost cardiovascular health and decrease risk of heart attacks. (4)
  • Protect and Repair DNA to Reduce Cancer Risk and Slow Aging - Folate (Vitamin B9) is essential for the maintenance and repair of DNA which helps to prevent cancer. Several studies have associated diets low in folate with increased risk of breast, pancreatic, and colon cancer. (5,6).
  • Decreased Risk of Alzheimer's Disease - Studies suggest that consuming adequate amounts of vitamin B9 (Folate) over a period of at least 10 years results in a decreased risk of contracting Alzheimer's Disease. (7,8 )

People at Risk of a Folate (Vitamin B9) Deficiency

  • Alcoholics - Alcohol interferes with absorption of folate and increases excretion of folate via the kidneys. (1)
  • Pregnant and Lactating Women - Women who are about to become, or are, pregnant need to be sure they have adequate folate in order to reduce risk of premature births, underweight births, and neural tube defects in their infants. (1)
  • People with Malabsorption - People with tropical sprue, celiac disease, or inflammatory bowel disease are at risk of poor folate absorption. (1)
  • People with the MTHFR polymorphism - People with this genetic variant cannot properly use folate, and will show signs of deficiency such as weakness, fatigue, headache, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath. (1)

Folate and Vitamin B12

If you take folic acid (vitamin B9) supplements beware the interaction with vitamin B12. Increased folic acid can cure the anemia associated with vitamin B12 deficiency, but cannot cure the neural damage. It is important to maintain both adequate levels of folic acid and vitamin B12. (1)

Other Vitamin B Foods

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Data Sources and References

  1. Office Of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet: Folate
  2. U.S. Agricultural Research Service Food Data Central
  3. NIH: Dietary Supplement Label Database
  4. Folic Acid Fortification of the Food Supply Potential Benefits and Risks for the Elderly Population
  5. Folic acid as a cancer-preventing agent.
  6. Folic acid and colorectal cancer prevention: molecular mechanisms and epidemiological evidence (Review).
  7. Reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease with high folate intake: the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging.
  8. Vitamin B(12) and folate in relation to the development of Alzheimer's disease.

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