8 Foods With Folate

Folic acid is the synthetic form of vitamin B9, which can be purchased as a supplement. Folic acid can also be found in some processed foods such as bread, cereal, and some brands of orange juice.

When naturally occurring, vitamin B9 is known as folate. Folate is found in many different types of fruits and dark green leafy vegetables.

If you're deficient in folate, you may experience symptoms such as muscle weakness, unexplained fatigue, and anemia.

This article lists eight of the most folate-dense foods to add to your diet, as well as general information about folic acids.

A bowl of broccoli on a table
Getty Images/ Edelweiss Spykerman / EyeEm.

What Are Folic Acid and Folate?

Folic acids and/or folate, also known as vitamin B9, are essential for your health. In fact, B9 is considered to be one of the body's 13 essential vitamins. B9 is necessary for the body to synthesize deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA), the genetic makeup of all your cells.

Vitamin B9 can be consumed either naturally in foods (folate) or via supplementation (folic acid).

What Are the Health Benefits of Folate?

Adequate folate levels in our body are associated with some health benefits. Folate reduces the risk of the following:

List of Folate-Dense Foods

Folate can be found in a variety of vegetables, especially dark, leafy greens, fruits, and more. Foods fortified with folate (folic acid) are more easily absorbed in the body.


Asparagus has some of the highest levels of folate.Asparagus boasts 89 micrograms (mcg) of folate per four spears.

Asparagus is also high in vitamin K and antioxidants such as vitamin C. Asparagus has anti-inflammatory properties and helps the brain's development and functioning.


Legumes are a family of foods that include beans, peas, and lentils. Legumes are an excellent source of folate. The folate content will vary based on the type of legume chosen. For example, pinto beans contain 294 micrograms of folate per one-cup serving, while blackeye peas contain 122 micrograms per one-cup serving (canned).

Legumes are also high in fiber and protein and are a great option if you're trying to cut back on your meat consumption.

Dark, Leafy Vegetables

Dark, leafy vegetables are a great source of folate. Some dark, leafy vegetables that are especially rich in folate include:

  • Spinach: 131 micrograms per 1/2-cup serving (cooked)
  • Romaine lettuce: 64 micrograms per 1-cup serving (shredded)
  • Brussel sprouts: 78 micrograms per 1/2-cup serving

Beef Liver

Beef liver is organ meat from cows. Beef liver contains 215 micrograms of folate per 3-ounce serving. Beef liver also contains high amounts of iron, vitamin A, and copper.


Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable with 52 micrograms of folate per 1/2-cup serving. Broccoli is also an excellent source of fiber and helps reduce inflammation, control blood sugar, and more.


Bananas are a type of fruit that contain an excellent amount of folate. A medium banana, for example, contains around 23.6 micrograms of folate.

Bananas are also a great way to obtain potassium.


Eggs, a breakfast staple, contain 22 micrograms of folate. While eggs are high in cholesterol, they do pack a nutrient punch and are a great way to sneak in extra protein.

Citrus Fruits 

Citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons are another way to obtain the daily recommended amount of folate. One large orange, for example, contains 55 micrograms of folate.

Citrus fruits also support the immune system.


Vitamin B9 is one of 13 essential vitamins needed by the body for healthy functioning. Vitamin B9 can be derived from foods (folate) or through supplements (folic acid). You can find folate in dark, leafy vegetables, bananas, legumes, eggs, and more.

A Word From Verywell

Eating a healthy diet means that you're accounting for all the essential vitamins and minerals that make your body function to the best of its abilities. Vitamin B9 is considered an essential vitamin so it is imperative that you make sure it's part of your diet.

If you are experiencing symptoms of folate deficiency such as unexplained fatigue, anemia, or muscle weakness, talk to your healthcare provider about adding a folic acid supplement to your diet and to rule out other potential causes.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the symptoms of folic acid deficiency?

    A folic acid deficiency is often subtle. Signs of being deficient include muscle weakness, unexplained fatigue, and anemia.

  • Is B12 the same as folic acid?

    No, B12 is not the same as folic acid. While folic acid is a B vitamin, specifically B9, vitamin B12 has an entirely different function. That said, folic acid and vitamin B12 do work together to help the functioning of red blood cells.

  • Does folic acid cause weight gain?

    No. Currently, there is no evidence that suggests that folic acid supplementation can cause weight gain.

8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. MedlinePlus. Folic acid in diet.

  2. MedlinePlus. Vitamins.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. General information on NTDs, folic acid, and folate.

  4. Christen WG, Glynn RJ, Chew EY, Albert CM, Manson JE. Folic acid, vitamin b6, and vitamin b12 in combination and age-related macular degeneration in a randomized trial of womenArch Intern Med. 2009;169(4):335-341.

  5. Zhao Y, Guo C, Hu H, et al. Folate intake, serum folate levels and esophageal cancer risk: an overall and dose-response meta-analysisOncotarget. 2017;8(6):10458-10469.

  6. Xun P, Liu K, Loria CM, et al. Folate intake and incidence of hypertension among American young adults: a 20-y follow-up studyThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2012;95(5):1023-1030. doi:10.3945/ajcn.111.027250

  7. National Institute Of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements. Folate: fact sheet for professionals.

  8. Ruzzo EK, Capo-Chichi JM, Ben-Zeev B, et al. Deficiency of asparagine synthetase causes congenital microcephaly and a progressive form of encephalopathyNeuron. 2013;80(2):10.1016/j.neuron.2013.08.013. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2013.08.013

By Molly Burford
Molly Burford is a mental health advocate and wellness book author with almost 10 years of experience in digital media.