10 Folate-Rich Foods You Should Eat For A Healthy Pregnancy

By Bamidele Wale-Oshinowo

Folic Acid is derived from folate, a water-soluble B vitamin which needs to be included in daily diet as it cannot be stored for long in the body.

Pregnant woman especially need foods rich in folate for the following reasons;

  • Eating folate rich foods is especially crucial before and during pregnancy because it helps prevent neutral tube defects (NTD), a serious abnormality of the brain and spinal cord in babies.
  • It works with vitamin B12 to make red blood cells in the body. This is required for the normal function of the immune system and helps build and repair the genetic material (DNA) found in every cell in the body.

READ ALSO:8 Reasons You Must Take Folic Acid Before & During Pregnancy

400 microgram (mcg) daily intake of folic acid is recommended while trying to conceive and during pregnancy.

Now, find a few foods rich in this essential vitamin recommended before and during pregnancy:

  1. Fortified Breakfast Cereals

Get a supply of between 100 to 400 mcg of folic acid from a bowl of most fortified cereals (always check for the folic acid logo on the cereal pack). It is healthy to eat cereals that are high in fibre but low in sugar. Examples of such cereals are: Rice Krispies, Oatmeal, Cheerios and Weetabix. To complete your breakfast, add a glass of freshly extracted orange juice as this is another good source of folic acid.

  1. Wholemeal Bread

Whole grain bread (also known as wholemeal or wheat bread) has 40 micrograms per 100g. Compared to white bread, wholemeal bread is higher in fibre and lower in sugar.

  1. Beans

Beans are low in calories, virtually fat-free and high in fibre. You can eat beans in various forms such as moimoi, akara, beans stew and baked beans.

  1. Liver

Liver is an organ that is full of nutrients such as protein, vitamin A, iron, trace elements, B-vitamins and most importantly contains the highest amounts of folic acid. 85 g of cow liver will give 215 mcg of folic acid. However, organ meats should be consumed with caution in pregnancy, especially if you are taking vitamin supplements.

READ ALSO:5 Ways To Minimize Your Risk Of Having A Baby With Birth Defects

  1. Sweet Potato

Sweet potato provides a good quantity of folic acid. One cooked average-sized sweet potato would provide 50 mcg of folic acid. For waiting or pregnant women, sweet potato is a healthier source of folate than Irish potato.

  1. Green Leafy Vegetables

One and half cup of cooked green leafy vegetable contains about 100 mcg of folate. You can eat your cooked green leafy vegetable with brown rice and potato (both are also good sources of folate).

Watercress, rocket, broccoli, Brussels, sprouts, kale, asparagus, and garden peas are good sources.

  1. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are super healthy foods and are a great natural source of vitamins, minerals, protein, fat and fibre.

Almond walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, cedar nuts, cashews and sunflower seeds are good sources of folate. Sunflower seeds can be munched as a snack, added to cereal, baked into bread or sprinkled over salads. Approximately 28 g of sunflower seeds contain 82 mcg of folic acid.

  1.  Enriched Pasta

Whole-wheat pasta in particular is more nutritious because it digests slowly, supplies higher fibre and is a great source of folate because it is enriched. One cup of enriched pasta would typically supply 100 mcg of folic acid.

  1. Avocado

Avocado is a rich source of folic acid in prenatal nutrition. One cup of sliced avocado contains 90 mcg of folate.

READ ALSO:10 Healthy Ways To Eat During Pregnancy

  1. Tomato Juice

Tomato juice is a healthy and cheap source of folic acid. It is low in sugar, very juicy and tasty, especially when served chilled. One glass of tomato juice contains 48 mcg of folate.

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