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Folic Acid

Folic acid is a B vitamin. It helps the body make healthy new cells. Everyone needs folic acid. For women who may get pregnant, it is really important. When a woman has enough folic acid in her body before and during pregnancy, it can prevent major birth defects of her baby's brain or spine.

Foods with folic acid in them include leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, peas and nuts. Enriched breads, cereals and other grain products also contain folic acid. If you don't get enough folic acid from the foods you eat, you can also take it as a dietary supplement.

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements

Get the Most Folic Acid from Your Food

Folic Acid Per 1/2 Cup

100 mcg or more

40-90 mcg

10-30 mcg

little or no folic acid

asparagus
Brussel sprouts
spinach
soybeans
black beans
broad beans
black eyed peas
fortified cereals

romaine lettuce
peas
sweet potato
broccoli
oranges and orange juice
oatmeal
sunflower seeds (1 oz)
peanuts (1 oz)
beets
wild rice

cantaloupe
strawberries
grapefruit or
grapefruit juice
pears
potatoes
corn
carrots
tomato
raspberries
cherries
bananas
squash
onions
cabbage

apples or apple juice
plums
prunes
grapes or grape juice
cranberries
kiwi
raisins
peaches
apricots
watermelon

  • Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Choose whole grain bread instead of white bread.
  • Drink orange juice every day or several times a week.
  • When you cook vegetables, steam them or cook them in a small amount of water. Do not overcook them!
  • Choose cereals that have folic acid added to them. Eat them for breakfast and for snacks.
  • Eat dried beans or peas several times a week. Serve them as a main dish instead of meat or add them to soups, salads and casseroles.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables raw. Add fresh vegetables such as spinach, brocolli or romaine lettuce to tossed salads.

Information on Folic Acid from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)

Folic Acid and Pregnancy


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North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7331/ Fax: (701) 231-6132
Campus address: Wallman Wellness Center 102
Physical/delivery address: 18th Street and Centennial Blvd., Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address: NDSU Dept. 5150/ PO Box 6050 / Fargo, ND 58108-6050
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Last Updated: Thursday, July 31, 2014 8:16:21 AM