Food Sources

For women wanting to further enhance their folic acid consumption by eating a diet containing folate-rich foods, here are some ideas. Based on the serving sizes used in Eating Well With Canada’s Food Guide and the best available evidence, the following tables provide an estimate of the amount of folic acid in some foods.

 

Excellent Sources (.055mg or more)
Item Portion
Lentils and romano beans 175 ml (3/4 cup)
Black beans 175 ml (3/4 cup)
Okra 125 ml (1/2 cup)
White beans 175 ml (3/4 cup)
Asparagus and spinach, cooked 125 ml (1/2 cup)
Salad greens such as romaine lettuce,
mustard greens and endive
250 ml (1 cup)
Pinto beans, kidney beans and chickpeas 175 ml (3/4 cup)
Pasta made with enriched wheat flour 125 ml (1/2 cup)
Avocado 1/2 fruit
Sunflower seeds, shelled 60 ml (1/4 cup)
Bagel made with enriched wheat flour                                           1/2 bagel (45 g)
Brussel sprouts, beets and broccoli, cooked 125 ml (1/2 cup)
Bread made with enriched wheat flour
or enriched corn meal

1 slice or 1/2 pita or 1/2 tortilla (35 g)

Spinach, raw 250 ml (1 cup)
Orange juice from concentrate 125 ml (1/2 cup)
Good Sources (.033mg or more)
Item Portion
Parsely 125 ml (1/2 cup)
Parsnips 125 ml (1/2 cup)
Peanuts, shelled                        60 ml (1/4 cup)
Eggs 2 large
Corn 125 ml (1/2 cup)
Seaweed 125 ml (1/2 cup)
Orange 1 medium
Green peas 125 ml (1/2 cup)
Sources (.011mg or more)
Item Portion
Raspberries, strawberries
and blackberries
125 ml (1/2 cup)
Enriched ready to eat cereal    30 g
Broccoli and cauliflower, raw 125 ml (1/2 cup)
Snow peas 125 ml (1/2 cup)
Pineapple juice 125 ml (1/2 cup)
Walnuts, almonds and
hazelnuts, shelled
60 ml (1/4 cup)
Baby carrots 125 ml (1/2 cup)
Kiwi fruit 1 large
Clementine 1 fruit


Mandatory Food Fortification in Canada

Adding folic acid to white flour, enriched pasta, and enriched corn meal has been mandatory in Canada since November 1998. Studies show that this measure has increased folate intake and improved folate status in Canadian women of childbearing age (Ray et al, 2002; Liu et al, 2004).
 

Vita Track Folate Tracker - iPhone Application
to Help Women Measure Folic Acid Intake 


If you are a woman of childbearing age, you need to understand how folic acid can affect the life of your baby. Whether you are planning to have a baby now or not, this is important information.

You may already know that folic acid is essential for a baby’s development. But did you also know that for women who could become pregnant, doctors and Health Canada recommend taking 0.4 mg of folic acid in a daily multivitamin in addition to folate in food? Maintaining an adequate intake at least 3 months prior to conception can reduce the risk of serious birth defects like spina bifida by as much as 70%!

If you think you are eating a healthy diet and don’t need to supplement, here is a great way to measure your folate from the food you eat daily or weekly.

The VitaTrack Folate Tracker has been designed to ensure you get the minimum recommended amount of folic acid/folate everyday. And the great part about it…it’s free! If you have a smartphone (i.e. iPhone, Blackberry, iPad, iPod Touch, etc.) you can download the app for the VitaTrack Folate Tracker from iTunes. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vitatrack/id364355699?mt=8#

Simply enter the food you eat at each meal by selecting the menu items and the portion size. Easy to read graphs tell you if you are meeting the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for folic acid and you can also email weekly reports to your doctor.

If you find you are not getting the RDA for folic acid, start taking a multivitamin now. It’s easy, good for you, and, should you become pregnant, you will know that you have sufficient stores of folic acid to help protect your baby from serious birth defects.
 

Folate for Healthy Pregnancies

Folate is the name for the essential B vitamin folic acid that it is found naturally in foods. Folic acid is the form found in vitamin supplements and fortified foods. Getting enough folate and folic acid is especially important for women of childbearing age to help promote healthy pregnancies and babies.

Eating well with Canada’s Food Guide and taking a daily multivitamin that has 0.4 mg (400 mcg) of folic acid will help you prepare for a healthy pregnancy and is important even if you are not planning to become pregnant.1 This can reduce the risk of your baby developing a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida or anencephaly, if you do become pregnant.  Read more...

 

 

How to Enjoy More Folate

Healthy diets tend to naturally include more folate and other vitamins and minerals essential for healthy pregnancies. Here are some tips to help you enjoy more folate and essential nutrients in your daily menus.


Focus on nutritious foods
Whether you’re planning your meals, writing your grocery list or eating out, try to focus on choosing nutrient-rich foods. Remember, folate is found naturally in nutritious foods such as green leafy vegetables (think spinach, romaine lettuce, and broccoli), many other vegetables, citrus fruits and juices, berries, legumes (including dried beans, peas and lentils), nuts, seeds and eggs. Breads and pasta made with enriched flour and ready to eat cereals are also enriched with folic acid now to help women get more.  Read more...



 

Remember Health Canada recommends
both healthy eating and a daily multivitamin
with 0.4 mg of folic acid for women
of childbearing age.