Folic acid is a synthetic form of B9 vitamin or folate. It's a common ingredient in prenatal vitamins, as it promotes healthy bone and spine development in fetuses. Some studies find folate slows cognitive decline and can even help prevent certain types of cancer. If you prefer to boost your folate levels naturally, foods high in folic acid or folate can help. Folate is a fat-soluble vitamin, so to get the maximum absorption of B9 during digestion make sure to pair these foods with healthy dietary fat.
Garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, are a type of legume. These beans are a valuable source of protein, complex carbohydrates, and the all-important folate. Chickpeas may be purchased dried or canned. When using dried beans, be sure to thoroughly soak and rinse them before cooking. You may choose to eat chickpeas warm, cold, or tossed with a bit of feta cheese. Chickpeas are also the primary ingredient in hummus, a satisfying vegetable dip that is growing in popularity. A one-cup serving of chickpeas has 282 mcg of folate -- over 70 percent of your recommended daily value.
AlasdairJames / Getty Images
Beef liver is an excellent source of folate. This lean protein is also one of the best dietary sources of iron. You may choose to eat beef liver in a stir-fry with other folate-rich vegetables. If you are pregnant or nursing, this combination can help you reach your recommended daily values without supplements. One 3-ounce serving of beef liver contains about 55 percent of your daily folate needs. If you don't enjoy the strong flavor of beef liver, the smaller chicken liver, ounce per ounce, rivals beef in both folate and iron. Many people enjoy fried chicken livers on a salad or with a spicy sauce.
YelenaYemchuk / Getty Images
These leafy green vegetables are related to the cabbage and can be sweet and crunchy when prepared properly. Remember that folate is fat-soluble, so adding butter or bacon to your Brussels sprouts can help you absorb more of this vitamin. Brussels sprouts have 20 percent of your daily folate allowance per half-cup serving. If you have a mandolin slicer, you can slice your sprouts thinly, and toss them raw into a salad with other leafy greens for a superfood powerhouse blend.
bhofack2 / Getty Images
Lentils are part of the legume family. They're an excellent source of plant protein and complex carbohydrates and can help you create filling meals. Lentils contain about 90 percent of your daily folate requirement per one-cup serving. They are mild in flavor and can be cooked in many ways. Lentil soups are popular as a warm comfort dish, but you may choose to eat warm lentils tossed with different dried fruits such as raisins.
Fudio / Getty Images
Spinachis a dark leafy green packed with vitamins and minerals and minimal calories. Eating it raw makes for a sweet and crunchy salad base. If you don't like the taste of raw, sauté it with a bit of garlic for a healthy side dish. Raw spinach contains about 14 percent of your daily folate needs per one-cup serving, while a cup of cooked spinach meets two-thirds of your requirement.
Kativ / Getty Images
Asparagus is very rich in vitamin K. This starchy green vegetable is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in fiber and essential vitamins. Asparagus tastes better when cooked, as the stalks soften with heat. Try your asparagus on the grill for an interesting flavor, or sauté the tips with your favorite stir-fry or vegetable side dish. Asparagus provides about one-third of your folate needs in a half-cup serving.
DronG / Getty Images
Avocado contains healthy dietary fats and is delicious on a salad, mashed into a guacamole dip, spread on toast, or even on its own. This Mexican-grown fruit is also a good source of folate, with a half-cup serving containing about 15 percent of your daily recommended value. Best of all, avocado is a naturally fatty food, so you'll have the necessary dietary fat your gut needs to fully absorb the folate from the avocado.
gradyreese / Getty Images
These sweet, earthy veggies contain a good amount of folate, with one average beet providing one-quarter of your dietary requirement. Beets come in yellow and red varieties -- yellow beets have a higher amount of beta-carotene, while red beets have higher amounts of vitamin C. Both types of beets have B vitamins, iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, and potassium. Enjoy beets pickled, as a sandwich accompaniment, or roasted in the oven for a healthy and filling side dish.
Boonchuay1970 / Getty Images
It might seem odd to see a pasta listed as one of the top dietary sources of folic acid, but in fact, folic acid can be found in relatively high amounts in enriched grain-based foods. Enriched spaghetti contains folic acid - the synthetic form of folate. A one-cup serving of enriched pasta contains about one third of your recommended daily allowance. Toss with some crispy chicken livers or spinach to deliciously boost your folate intake even higher.
chanuth / Getty Images
Like Brussels sprouts, broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable. This green veggie is tasty if eaten raw, but it can also be roasted, steamed, or sautéed. Most people prefer the taste of cooked broccoli over raw, but either option is a delicious way to get 14 percent or more of your daily folate needs in a one-cup serving. If you choose to eat your broccoli raw, make sure you thoroughly wash it, as the little flowers on the top can hide bacteria.
Plateresca / Getty Images
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.