Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is found naturally in many foods. It may also be found in the form of folic acid in fortified foods. Legumes, eggs, citrus fruits, and fortified grains are a few good sources of folate.

Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is a water-soluble vitamin that has many important functions in your body.

In particular, it supports healthy cell division and promotes proper fetal growth and development to reduce the risk of birth defects (1).

Vitamin B9 is found naturally in many foods, as well as in the form of folic acid in fortified foods.

It’s recommended that healthy adults get at least 400 mcg of folate per day to prevent a deficiency (2).

Here are 15 healthy foods that are high in folate or folic acid.

bowls of various legumes arranged on a wooden cutting board
Science Photo Library/Getty Images

Legumes are the fruit or seed of any plant in the Fabaceae family, including:

  • beans
  • peas
  • lentils

Although the exact amount of folate in legumes can vary, they’re an excellent source of folate.

For example, one cup (177 grams) of cooked kidney beans contains 131 mcg of folate, or about 33% of the Daily Value (DV) (3).

Meanwhile, one cup (198 grams) of cooked lentils contains 358 mcg of folate, which is 90% of the DV (4).

Legumes are also a great source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants, as well as important micronutrients like potassium, magnesium, and iron (5).

Asparagus contains a concentrated amount of many vitamins and minerals, including folate.

In fact, a half-cup (90-gram) serving of cooked asparagus contains about 134 mcg of folate, or 34% of the DV (6).

Asparagus is also rich in antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties (7).

What’s more, it’s an excellent source of heart-healthy fiber, knocking out up to 6% of your daily fiber needs in just one serving (6).

Adding eggs to your diet is a great way to boost your intake of several essential nutrients, including folate.

Just one large egg packs 22 mcg of folate, or approximately 6% of the DV (8).

Including even just a few servings of eggs in your diet each week is an easy way to boost your folate intake and help meet your needs.

Eggs are also loaded with protein, selenium, riboflavin, and vitamin B12 (8).

Furthermore, they’re high in lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of eye disorders like macular degeneration (9, 10).

Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and arugula are low in calories yet bursting with many key vitamins and minerals, including folate.

One cup (30 grams) of raw spinach provides 58.2 mcg, or 15% of the DV (11).

Leafy greens are also high in fiber and vitamins K and A. They’ve been associated with a host of health benefits.

Studies show that eating more cruciferous vegetables, such as leafy greens, may be associated with reduced inflammation, a lower risk of cancer, and increased weight loss (12, 13, 14).

In addition to providing a burst of color to main dishes and desserts alike, beets are rich in many important nutrients.

They contain much of the manganese, potassium, and vitamin C that you need throughout the day.

They’re also a great source of folate, with a single cup (136 grams) of raw beets containing 148 mcg of folate, or about 37% of the DV (15).

Besides their micronutrient content, beets are high in nitrates, a type of plant compound that has been associated with many health benefits.

One older study showed that drinking beetroot juice temporarily lowered systolic blood pressure by 4–5 mmHg in healthy adults (16).

Besides being delicious and full of flavor, citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes are rich in folate.

Just one large orange contains 55 mcg of folate, or about 14% of the DV (17).

Citrus fruits are also packed with vitamin C, an essential micronutrient that can help boost immunity and aid disease prevention (18).

In fact, observational studies have found that a high intake of citrus fruits may be associated with a lower risk of breast, stomach, and pancreatic cancer (19, 20, 21).

This nutritious vegetable belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables and is closely related to other greens like kale, broccoli, cabbage, and kohlrabi.

Brussels sprouts are brimming with many vitamins and minerals and especially high in folate.

A half-cup (78-gram) serving of cooked Brussels sprouts can supply 47 mcg of folate, or 12% of the DV (22).

They’re also a great source of kaempferol, an antioxidant associated with numerous health benefits.

Animal studies show that kaempferol can help to reduce inflammation and prevent oxidative damage (23, 24).

Well known for its multitude of health-promoting properties, adding broccoli to your diet can provide an array of essential vitamins and minerals.

When it comes to folate, one cup (91 grams) of raw broccoli contains around 57 mcg of folate, or about 14% of the DV (25).

Cooked broccoli contains even more folate, with each half-cup (78-gram) serving providing 84 mcg, or 21% of the DV (26).

Broccoli is also high in manganese and vitamins C, K, and A.

It likewise contains a wide variety of beneficial plant compounds, including sulforaphane, which has been studied extensively for its powerful anti-cancer properties (27).

There are plenty of reasons to consider upping your intake of nuts and seeds.

In addition to containing a hearty dose of protein, they’re rich in fiber and many of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs.

Incorporating more nuts and seeds into your diet can also help you meet your daily folate needs.

The amount of folate in various types of nuts and seeds can vary slightly.

One ounce (28 grams) of walnuts contains about 28 mcg of folate, or around 7% of the DV, while the same serving of flax seeds contains about 24 mcg of folate, or 6% of the DV (28, 29).

Beef liver is one of the most concentrated sources of folate available.

A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of cooked beef liver packs 212 mcg of folate, or about 54% of the DV (30).

In addition to folate, a single serving of beef liver can meet and exceed your daily requirements for vitamin A, vitamin B12, and copper (30).

It’s also loaded with protein, providing a whopping 24 grams per 3-ounce (85-gram) serving.

Protein is necessary for tissue repair and the production of important enzymes and hormones.

Wheat germ is the embryo of the wheat kernel.

Although it’s often removed during the milling process, it supplies a high concentration of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Just one ounce (28 grams) of wheat germ provides 78.7 mcg of folate, which equals about 20% of your daily folate needs (31).

It also contains a good chunk of fiber, providing up to 16% of the fiber you need per day in a single ounce (28 grams) (31).

Fiber moves slowly through your digestive tract, adding bulk to your stool to help promote regularity, prevent constipation, and keep blood sugar levels steady (32, 33).

Papaya is a nutrient-dense tropical fruit native to southern Mexico and Central America.

Besides being delicious and full of flavor, papaya is jam-packed with folate.

One cup (140 grams) of raw papaya contains 53 mcg of folate, which is equal to about 13% of the DV (34).

Additionally, papaya is high in vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants like carotenoids (34).

Pregnant women should consider avoiding eating unripe papaya.

Researchers speculate that eating high amounts on unripe papaya might cause early contractions in pregnant women, but the evidence is weak (35).

Rich in a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, bananas are a nutritional powerhouse.

They’re especially high in folate and can easily help you meet your daily needs when paired with a few other folate-rich foods.

A medium banana can supply 23.6 mcg of folate, or 6% of the DV (36).

Bananas are high in other nutrients as well, including potassium, vitamin B6, and manganese (36).

Avocados are incredibly popular due to their creamy texture and buttery flavor.

In addition to their unique taste, avocados are an excellent source of many important nutrients, including folate.

One-half of a raw avocado contains 82 mcg of folate, or about 21% of the amount you need for the entire day (37).

Plus, avocados are rich in potassium and vitamins K, C, and B6 (37).

They’re also high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which may protect against heart disease (38).

Many types of grains, such as bread and pasta, have been fortified to boost their folic acid content.

The amounts can vary between different products, but one cup (140 grams) of cooked spaghetti supplies approximately 102 mcg of folic acid, or 25% of the DV (39).

Interestingly, some studies have demonstrated that the folic acid in fortified foods may be more easily absorbed than the folate found naturally in foods.

For example, one study concluded that the folate in foods such as fruits and vegetables is only about 78% as bioavailable as the folic acid in fortified foods (40).

Conversely, other research suggests that the specific enzyme the body uses to break down folic acid in fortified foods is not as efficient, which can result in a buildup of unmetabolized folic acid (41).

A well-balanced diet that’s rich in natural sources of folate and includes a moderate number of fortified foods can ensure you’re meeting your needs, all while minimizing potential health concerns.

If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, getting enough folate is crucial to your baby’s neural development.

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends taking a daily supplement containing 400-800 mcg of folic acid, in addition to consuming food with folate from a varied diet a month before pregnancy through the first 2-3 months (42).

Folate is an important micronutrient found in abundance throughout your diet.

Eating a variety of healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, as well as fortified foods, is an easy way to increase your folate intake.

These foods are not only rich in folate but also high in other key nutrients that can improve other aspects of your health.