Vegan Folate And Folic Acid Foods
Folate is the naturally occurring form of vitamin B9. Folic acid, on the other hand, is synthetically produced. Nevertheless, folic acid is commonly referred to and used interchangeably with folate.
The term "folate" is derived from the Latin word "folium," which translates to "leaf." Leafy vegetables contain some of the highest concentrations of folate.
Around 50 to 60% of the folate present in foods can be absorbed and utilized by the body 1. When foods are fortified with folic acid, approximately 85% of the folic acid can be absorbed and utilized.
Note that folate is water-soluble and is lost when cooking food. A study shows that cooking results in a loss of 32.2 to 40% of folate. 2 3. For example, when spinach and broccoli are cooked, only 49% and 44% of the original folate content remains. 4. However, steaming spinach or broccoli did not result in a significant decrease in folate content, even with maximum cooking times of 4.5 minutes (spinach) and 15.0 minutes (broccoli). Therefore, it is advisable to prepare these foods gently.
When comparing the stability of folate to folic acid, folic acid is the much more stable form. Naturally occurring folate rapidly loses its activity from the moment of harvest 5. Storage and food processing further reduce folate content. As much as three-quarters of the originally bioavailable folate can be lost 6.
Here is the table of foods rich in folate and folic acid.
We have compiled a list of selected foods high in folate that should be regularly consumed as part of a healthy and vitamin-rich diet. These are plant-based or vegan foods with a high content of folate and folic acid.
Above all, dark green vegetables and leafy greens contain a lot of folate. Some good sources in this group include: spinach (194 µg per 100 g), endive (142 µg), kale (141 µg), watercress (80 µg), savoy cabbage (80 µg), lettuce (73 µg), broccoli (63 µg), Brussels sprouts (61 µg), and okra pods (60 µg). Cooked asparagus (149), beetroot (109 µg), bok choy (79 µg), artichoke (68 µg), parsnip (67 µg), Romanesco broccoli (57 µg), cauliflower (57 µg), leek (64 µg), celery stalks (36 µg), chicory (37 µg), and fennel (27 µg) are also rich in folate.
In addition, red bell peppers and tomatoes have low folate levels of 46 µg and 15 µg, respectively.
Herbs also contain a lot of folate. Fresh parsley (152 µg), fresh dill (150 µg), and fresh chives (105 µg) are very good sources of folate. Dried herbs and spices such as basil (310 µg), tarragon (274 µg), marjoram (274 µg), and oregano (237 µg) also contain a lot of folate.
In addition to vegetables, the daily requirement of folate can also be easily met with fruits, as they are also rich in folate. But berries like blackberries (25 µg) and raspberries (21 µg) are also folate-rich. Avocado (81 µg), mango (43 µg), pomegranate (38 µg), papaya (37 µg), kiwi (25 µg), strawberries (24 µg), cantaloupe melon (21 µg), banana (20 µg), and pineapple (18 µg) are very good sources of folate in fruits. Citrus fruits also contain some folate. Good sources include orange (30 µg), tangerine (16 µg), lemon (11 µg), and grapefruit (10 µg).
Among the best sources of folate are roasted soybeans (205 µg), cooked lentils (181 µg), chickpeas (172 µg), white beans (81 µg), green peas (63 µg), and roasted peanuts (97 µg). Use this table to find more legumes with folate.
Millet (85 µg), oats (56 µg), spelt (45 µg), sweet corn (42 µg), and rye (38 µg) are good sources of folate among cereals. Cooked white rice contains 59 µg of folate per 100 g.
Pseudocereals also have higher folate content. Quinoa, amaranth, chia seeds, and buckwheat contain 184 µg, 82 µg, 49 µg, and 30 µg of folate, respectively.
Furthermore, the folate content can be significantly increased by sprouting grains. For example, wheat germ contains 281 µg of folate.
Nuts and Seeds
Sunflower seeds (227 µg), hazelnuts (113 µg), hemp seeds (110 µg), walnuts (98 µg), sesame seeds (97 µg), flaxseeds (87 µg), poppy seeds (82 µg), pumpkin seeds (58 µg), pistachios (51 µg), and almonds (44 µg) are good sources here. They can contribute to meeting the folate requirement to a greater extent.
Folic Acid in Processed Foods
Good sources of folic acid are whole grain products like pumpernickel (93 µg) and whole wheat spaghetti (69 µg). But bulgur (27 µg) and oatmeal (32 µg) also contain higher levels. Fresh yeast (baker's yeast) contains 1.25 mg folate per 100 g.
Some foods are artificially fortified with folic acid. Therefore, multivitamin juices contain synthetic folic acid in addition to naturally occurring folate. Certain salt products and specific non-alcoholic beers are artificially enriched with folic acid.
In the United States and Canada, since 1998, 1 kg of flour has been artificially fortified with 1.4 to 1.5 mg of folic acid. 7 8. Therefore, bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, and baked goods always contain folic acid. The reason for this is to reduce the occurrence of neural tube defects that can occur during pregnancy due to folate deficiency. Other countries such as Chile, Costa Rica, Australia, and South Africa have also implemented legal standards for fortifying food with folic acid. 9.