The Sources of Folate

This week, we have been focusing on folate (vitamin B9) and the important role it plays in ADHD. Today we will continue to focus on folate and learn more about the sources of folate.  Vitamin B9 is needed to synthesize amino acids that are the building blocks for DNA, and neurotransmitters.  Individuals with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine to begin with, which is why it is critical to increase the production of these neurotransmitters as much as possible.

The amount of folate that you need depends on your age and your gender. Women who are at a child bearing age or are trying to become pregnant should increase their folate intake. In addition, women who are lactating also have increased folate needs.   Here is the breakdown:

Infants 0-6 months: 65 mcg

Infants 7-12 months: 80 mcg

1-3 years: 150 mcg

4-8 years: 200 mcg

9-13 years: 300 mcg

14-18 years: 400 mcg

19 years and older: 400 mcg

Pregnant: 600 mcg

Lactating: 500 mcg

Now that you know how much folate you need each day, here are the best sources of folate to try. These values are based on the USDA nutrient database.

sources of folate

Top 10 Sources of Folate

  1. Dark Leafy Greens: Spinach contains 263 mcg in 1 cup
  2. Liver: Most types of liver meats contain around 250 mcg to 350 mcg of folate. If you enjoy this type of meat, then you are in luck!
  3. Beans: Most cooked beans contain anywhere from 250 mcg to 350 mcg in 1 cup. Try these black bean burgers
  4. Lentils: Just 1 cup of cooked lentils contains 358 mcg of folate. Try this delicious lentils with goat cheese recipe.
  5. Asparagus: All you need to eat is 1 cup to get 234 mcg of folate
  6. Edamame: 358 mcg in 1 cup.  I love Trader Joes frozen edamame for a quick and easy vegetable or side with dinner.
  7. Green Peas: 127 mcg in a 1 cup serving. Try adding these to a salad.
  8. Avocado: 205 mcg in 1 cup of sliced avocado.  Avocado is a great substitute for mayonnaise. Try mixing tuna with half an avocado.
  9. Ready to Eat Breakfast Cereal: Most ready to eat cereals are fortified with folate. The problem with these cereals is that the bioavailability of the folate is less than the folate in natural sources like dark leafy greens. 1 cup of ready to eat breakfast cereal can contain anywhere from 100-500 mcg of folate
  10. Brussel Sprouts: 155 mcg in 1 cup of these cruciferous vegetables

Now you know how much folate you need each day and what foods are the best sources of this B vitamin. If you aren’t getting enough folate already, hopefully you now have the tools that you need to meet your daily needs.

I would love to hear from you! What recipe do you make that is a good source of folate? Leave a comment and share! One of my favorites is a delicious spring pasta with asparagus and peas, which are both great sources of folate.  Be sure to check back tomorrow for this yummy recipe! Thanks for reading!

Until Next Time,

The Distracted Dietitian




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