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
100 mcg or more
little or no folic acid
apples or apple juice
- 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.