16 foods rich in folic acid and reference values

Foods rich in folic acid, such as liver, beans and lentils are very suitable for pregnant women, and also for those trying to get pregnant because this vitamin serves to help the baby’s nervous system, preventing serious diseases such as anencephaly, spina bifida and meningocele.

Folic acid, which is vitamin B9, is essential for everyone’s health, and its deficiency can cause serious disorders for the pregnant woman and her baby. Thus, to avoid these disorders it is recommended to increase the consumption of foods with folic acid and still do the supplementation of 2 to 3 months before becoming pregnant to guarantee the need at this stage of life. Learn more at Folic acid in pregnancy.

List of foods rich in folic acid 

The following table shows examples of some foods rich in this vitamin:

Foods Weight Amount of folic acid
Cooked chicken liver 100 g 770 mcg
Cooked turkey liver 100 g 666 mcg
Brewer’s yeast 16 g 626 mcg
Boiled beef liver 100 g 220 mcg
Lentils 99 g 179 mcg
Cooked okra 92 g 134 mcg
Cooked black beans 86 g 128 mcg
Cooked spinach 95 g 103 mcg
Cooked green soybeans 90 g 100 mcg
Cooked noodles 140 g 98 mcg
Peanut 72 g 90 mcg
Cooked broccoli 1 cup 78 mcg
Natural orange juice  1 cup 75 mcg
Beet  85 g  68 mcg
White rice  79 g 48 mcg
Boiled egg 1 unit 20 mcg

There are still foods enriched with folic acid, such as oats, rice and wheat flour, which can be used in many different recipes. According to the WHO, each 100 g of the product must provide a minimum amount of 150 mcg of folic acid. 

The recommended intake of folic acid for healthy adults is 400 mcg per day, and for pregnant women, 600 mcg per day.

Consequences of lack of folic acid

Folic acid deficiency is related to serious health problems such as hypertensive pregnancy syndrome, placental detachment, recurrent spontaneous abortion, premature birth, low birth weight, chronic cardiovascular, cerebrovascular diseases, dementia and depression. 

However, supplementation and healthy eating are able to reduce these risks, increasing the chances of a healthy pregnancy and the good development of the baby, preventing about 70% of cases of malformation of the neural tube. 

Reference values ​​of folic acid in the blood

Folic acid testing is rarely requested in pregnancy, but reference values ​​for folic acid in the blood range from 55 to 1,100 ng / mL, according to the laboratory. 

When the values ​​are below 55 ng / mL, the individual may have megaloblastic or hemolytic anemia, malnutrition, alcoholic hepatitis, hyperthyroidism, vitamin C deficiency, cancer, fever, or in the case of women, they may be pregnant.

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