The Best Vegan Folate Food Sources: From Best to Worst

T

Folate (often interchanged with folic acid) is a B vitamin that’s involved in creating DNA, and is also involved in creating proteins.

As a vegan, your risk of folate deficiency isn’t any higher. Most folate-containing foods are vegan in the first place.

Folate deficiency is also quite uncommon, and usually only happens when someone has a terrible diet that is deficient in other vitamins as well.

With all that said, I’ve still compiled a list of the best vegan folate sources so that you can know where yours is coming from.

How much folate do you need?

The RDA of folate depends on your age, but it’s 400 mcg (or “µg”) per day for adults of either gender.

The Top Vegan Folate Food Sources Per Serving

Spinach is the king of folate. A single serving will get you about 1.5 times the RDA of folate.

Here’s the full list.

Food Serving Energy (kcal) Folate (µg)
Spinach 1 bunch 78 660
Lentils 1 cup 230 358
Mung bean 1 cup 212 321
Chickpeas 1 cup 269 282
Adzuki beans 1 cup 294 278
Black beans 1 cup 227 256
Navy beans 1 cup 255 255
Kidney beans 1 cup 225 230
Cowpeas 1 cup 160 210
Soybeans 1 cup 254 200
Fava bean 1 cup 187 177
Peanuts 0.5 cup 414 175
Mango 1 fruit 202 144
Avocado 1 avocado 227 121
Eggplant 1 eggplant 137 121
Artichoke 1 large 76 110
Durian 0.5 durian 442 108
Turnip greens 1 cup 18 107
Melon 0.5 melon 180 95
Brussels sprouts 1 cup 56 94
Peas 1 cup 117 94
Squash 1 large 52 94
Asparagus 4 spears 13 89
Parsnip 1 cup 100 89
Oats 1 cup 607 87
Beets 1 beet 44 80
Rapini 5 stalks 21 79
Quinoa 1 cup 222 78
Zucchini 1 large 55 78
Hazelnut 0.5 cup 424 76

Legumes in general dominate the list. Lentils and several types of beans all have a lot of folate in them.

As long as you’re eating beans semi-regularly, you probably meet the RDA from them alone.

The Best Folate Sources Per 100 Calories

I made a second list that isn’t based on serving size, but instead looks at the amount of folate per 100 calories of each food, which may be multiple servings.

Food Serving Energy (kcal)
Folate (µg) per 100 calories
Spinach 1 bunch 78 846
Asparagus 4 spears 13 685
Turnip greens 1 cup 18 594
Bok choy 1 cup 9 511
Arugula 1 cup 5 380
Rapini 5 stalks 21 376
Napa cabbage 1 cup 13 362
Water spinach 1 cup 11 291
Lettuce (red leaf) 0.5 head 20 280
Celery 1 stalk 9 256
Cauliflower 1 cup 27 226
Broccoli 1 cup 31 184
Okra 8 pods 31 184
Beets 1 beet 44 182
Squash 1 large 52 181
Red bell pepper 1 large 43 174
Kale 2 cup 15 173
Cabbage 1 cup 22 173
Brussels sprouts 1 cup 56 168
Lentils 1 cup 230 156
Mung bean 1 cup 212 151
Artichoke 1 large 76 145
Zucchini 1 large 55 142
Radish 2 large 3 133
Cowpeas 1 cup 160 131
Black beans 1 cup 227 113
Green bean 10 beans 17 106
Leek 1 leek 54 106
Chickpeas 1 cup 269 105
Kidney beans 1 cup 225 102

It’s clear that spinach is the king when it comes to folate. 

Not only does it give you the most per serving, it also gives you the most on a per-calorie basis.

Beans still appear on this list towards the bottom, but if you’re really trying to keep your calories low, try to get your folate from the foods near the top.

In particular, that includes greens like asparagus, bok choy, rapini, and red leaf lettuce.

About the author

Dale C.

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance writer. Trying to do my small part in making the world better by writing about the wonderful world of veganism.

Add comment