Folate-rich foods to include in your diet

Folate-rich foods to include in your diet


Monday, January 25, 2021

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FOLATE is an important part of everyone's diet, but it is especially important for women who want to have children. If taken consistently before you get pregnant, and in the early stages of pregnancy, folic acid supplements can help to prevent up to 70 per cent of neural tube defects (birth defects of the brain, spine or spinal cord).

Registered nutritionist and university lecturer Dr Vanessa White-Barrow says while there are prenatal tablets and diet supplements that include folic acid, which are synthetic versions of folate (vitamin B9), you can also ensure that you consume a healthy amount of folic acid by including certain foods in your diet.

She says these foods have high folate levels:

Green leafy vegetables

The darker the green, the better. Cruciferous veggies such as spinach, kale, and arugula are excellent sources of folate, which is essential for the body to make and repair DNA. These foods are also packed with fibre and vitamins A and K, and boast a range of other health benefits, such as lowering your risk of obesity, inflammation, and cancer.


This is perhaps the best animal-based source of folate available. A three-ounce serving of cooked beef liver, for example, has more than half the amount of folate you need for the day. Of course, liver is also loaded with protein, which is needed for tissue repair.

Peas and beans

Whether you like kidney beans, gungo peas, lentils or chickpeas, you really can't go wrong with legumes. A cup of lentils has almost 100 per cent of the recommended daily amount of folate you need. Legumes are also great sources of protein, potassium, magnesium, and iron.


Papayas, bananas, and citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons can also help you to maximise your folate intake. They may not give you all you need for the day, but considering how low in calories and rich in antioxidants they are, you might as well make that fruit plate anyway. Let's not forget that fruits are also packed with vitamin C!

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