It’s time to give folate the props it deserves. Folate (vitamin B-9) is an absolute workhorse of nutrition, it’s the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson of vitamins. It plays many important roles including supporting DNA Methylation, normal cell division, and neural tube development. However, like the other B vitamins, folate is water soluble, meaning the body doesn’t store it — so it’s critical to get proper amounts daily (more on that below). You might be thinking, how do I supercharge my folate intake? Don’t worry — we’ll share more info on the many ways to level up your folate game through foods high in folate and ensure you’re getting your share of this super-star nutrient.*
How Much Folate Do I Need?
Experts agree that people over age 14 need 400 mcg (micrograms) per day of folate or folic acid. For those in this age range who are not trying to get pregnant or are not currently pregnant, folate plays an important role in the body. Folate helps the human body methylate DNA and act as a cofactor in certain biological reactions. It is especially key in supporting cell division and supporting normal energy-yielding metabolism.* (1) When it’s not so easy to get all the nutrients you need daily, you can turn to our clinically-backed Essential for Women Multivitamin to help fill those gaps.
For people who are trying to get pregnant and pregnant people, that amount goes up to 600 mcg — due to folate’s essential role in supporting neural tube development in utero. (2) For those that fall into either of those two categories, we’ve formulated our Essential Prenatal Multivitamin to help fill nutrient gaps, including folate. People who are lactating need 500 mcg of folate per day. Don’t worry, if that’s you, we’ve got you covered too, with our Essential Postnatal Multivitamin.*
Sources of Folate to Add into Your Diet
What foods contain folate? Well, folate is present in many foods, and may be added to foods (usually store bought breads, breakfast cereals and pastas) in its synthetic form, folic acid. (1) Foods with added folic acid will say “fortified” on the label and will list “folic acid” in their nutrition or ingredients label. Here are some folate-rich foods to try to help ensure we’re getting our nutrients from whole foods and the proper amounts in our diet:
• Dark, leafy greens - Popeye was onto something here. ½ cup of cooked spinach contains 131 mcg of folate, almost ⅓ of your recommended daily intake (400 mcg unless you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, in which case 600 mcg is recommended). Kale, collard greens, turnip greens, romaine lettuce, raw cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli are also substantial sources.
• Beans, lentils and peas - ½ cup of Black-eyed peas contains 105 mcg of folate, and a small bowl of any type of lentils will give you the majority of your recommended amount of folate.
• Avocados - Slice up half of an avocado for homemade guacamole or as a nutritious topping to your favorite salad for 59 mcg of folate and about 15% of your recommended daily intake.
• Citrus fruits - While many fruits contain folate, oranges are the most potent source — others include grapefruit, papayas, grapes, bananas, strawberries, raspberries and cantaloupe.
• If you’re feeling really adventurous, 3 ounces of braised beef liver will get you 215 mcg of folate, or over half of your daily intake. We recommend keeping a little baggie of braised beef liver in the console of your car to snack on throughout the day. (Kidding about that last part).
Not sure where to start? It’s easy to add foods high in folate into our diet - try a big handful of greens into your morning smoothie, or adding a scoop of lentils or beans into a nutrient-packed salad or rice bowl.
Supplements for Additional Folate Support*
Even though we are big proponents of a “food-first philosophy”, supplements are a great way to help fill nutritional gaps in our diet, and to ensure we’re getting the daily values of essential nutrients. Our Essential for Women Multivitamin and Essential Prenatal Multivitamin both contain 1000 mcg, over 100% of the recommended daily intake of folate, because yep — we’re overachievers. So even if you don’t dare to try braised beef liver, your spinach game is lacking, or you just simply can’t make it to the grocery store, we’ve got it covered.*