Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin found naturally in many foods. If you've heard of folic acid, it's the synthetic version of it, found in dietary supplements and fortified foods. Not only is folate essential for expecting mothers, but it's necessary for all people since it's needed to make DNA and RNA, the building blocks of the cells in our bodies. It's also needed to make red blood cells, to prevent anemia, and may also help prevent cancerous cells from forming.
The RDI of folate for women over 19 is 400 micrograms (mcg). If you're pregnant or trying to conceive, you need 600 mcg of folate. If you're nursing, you need 500 mcg. You can find folate in the food you eat without having to take supplements. Here are 10 excellent sources.
- 1/4 cup peanuts: 207 mcg
- 3 oz. beef liver: 185 mcg
- 1/2 cup garbanzo beans: 134 mcg
- 1 cup navy beans: 129 mcg
- 1/2 cup pinto beans: 117 mcg
- 1/2 cup lentils, split peas, black beans, or kidney beans: 114 mcg
- 1/2 cup black-eyed peas: 105 mcg
- 1/2 cup cooked spinach: 100 mcg
- 1/2 cup corn: 88 mcg
- 4 spears of asparagus: 85 mcg