- Brian Bender, PhD
50 Folic Acid Rich Foods: Ranked from Highest to Lowest
After crunching the numbers on thousands of foods in the USDA Food Database, we’ve ranked the top 50 folic acid rich foods from highest to lowest.
Folic acid (folate) is also known as vitamin B9. It is an essential micronutrient we need to obtain through our diets.
Folic acid is important for neurological development, maintaining energy, and a host of other metabolic functions.
It’s important. So we wanted to see which foods pack the most punch when it comes to folic acid.
How we measured foods rich in folic acid
First, we collected detailed nutrient information from the USDA Food Database. This included both the amount of calories in 100 grams of each food (kcal) and the amount of folic acid in 100 grams of each food (μg).
Foods come in different sizes. So we can’t compare foods alone. What if you had one giant orange and one small spinach leaf?
And everyone eats different amounts of each food. People require different amounts of calories every day, based on gender, age, body weight, basal metabolism, and level of activity. So we can’t measure based off of servings.
We want a true, “apples-to-apples” comparison of each food item.
Therefore, we measured which foods had the highest density of folic acid on a calorie-per-calorie basis.
That means, we divided the amount of folic acid by the number of calories in 100 grams of each food.
That way, the numbers can be compared, side-by-side, to reveal what are the most folic acid rich foods.
Top 50 Most Folic Acid Rich Foods – Ranked
50. Red Leaf Lettuce (2.77 μg/kcal)
49. Edamame (2.78 μg/kcal)
48. Savoy Cabbage (2.96 μg/kcal)
47. Taro Leaves (3.00 μg/kcal)
46. Water Convolvulus (3.00 μg/kcal)
45. Capon Chicken (3.03 μg/kcal)
44. Agar Seaweed (3.27 μg/kcal)
43. Artichokes (3.32 μg/kcal)
42. Kimchi Cabbage (3.47 μg/kcal)
41. Cowpea Leafy Tips (3.48 μg/kcal)
40. Chives (3.50 μg/kcal)
39. Napa Cabbage (3.58 μg/kcal)
38. Jute (3.62 μg/kcal)
37. Amaranth Leaves (3.70 μg/kcal)
36. Irishmoss Seaweed (3.71 μg/kcal)
35. Broccoli Raab (3.77 μg/kcal)
34. Sesbania Flower (3.78 μg/kcal)
33. Arugula (3.88 μg/kcal)
32. Pumpkin Flowers (3.93 μg/kcal)
31. Cardoon (4.00 μg/kcal)
30. Collards (4.03 μg/kcal)
29. Laver Seaweed (4.17 μg/kcal)
28. Kelp Seaweed (4.19 μg/kcal)
27. Parsley (4.22 μg/kcal)
26. Balsam-Pear Pods (Bitter Gourd) (4.24 μg/kcal)
25. Balsam-Pear Leafy Tips (Bitter Gourd) (4.27 μg/kcal)
24. Wakame Seaweed (4.36 μg/kcal)
23. Chinese Broccoli (4.50 μg/kcal)
22. Chicory Greens (4.78 μg/kcal)
21. Chayote Fruit (4.89 μg/kcal)
20. Okra (4.93 μg/kcal)
19. Chinese Cabbage (Pe-Tsai) (4.94 μg/kcal)
18. Chicken Liver (4.94 μg/kcal)
17. Malabar Spinach (4.96 μg/kcal)
16. Chinese Cabbage (Pak-Choi) (5.08 μg/kcal)
15. Arrowroot (5.20 μg/kcal)
14. Escarole (5.20 μg/kcal)
13. Turkey Liver (5.29 μg/kcal)
12. Duck Liver (5.43 μg/kcal)
11. Goose Liver (5.55 μg/kcal)
10. Butterhead Lettuce (5.62 μg/kcal)
9. Turnip Greens (6.06 μg/kcal)
8. Epazote (6.72 μg/kcal)
7. Asparagus (6.77 μg/kcal)
6. Mustard Spinach (Tendergreen) (7.23 μg/kcal)
5. Chrysanthemum Leaves (7.38 μg/kcal)
4. Cos or Romaine Lettuce (8.00 μg/kcal)
3. Endive (8.35 μg/kcal)
2. Raw Spinach (8.43 μg/kcal)
1. Yeast Extract Spread (20.46 μg/kcal)
Foods Rich in Folic Acid
There’s a variety of foods on our list, but the majority are vegetables. One class of vegetable that shows up with several varieties are various kinds of seaweeds.
Other classes of vegetable with several varieties all rich in folic acid are cabbages, spinach, broccoli, and the leaves of root vegetables.
But there is one class of food rich in folic acid that aren’t vegetables.
And not just any liver meat. Four varieties of liver meat on our list all derive from poultry.
The most folic acid rich poultry liver comes from goose, followed by duck, turkey, and finally, chicken.
But the number 1 spot at over twice has dense as the next in line, yeast extract spread, is by far the most folic acid rich food on the list.
Do any of your favorites make the list of the top 50 most folic acid rich foods?
Feel free to use the image below (with attribution) or use the interactive version, here!