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)|
|Mung bean||1 cup||212||321|
|Adzuki beans||1 cup||294||278|
|Black beans||1 cup||227||256|
|Navy beans||1 cup||255||255|
|Kidney beans||1 cup||225||230|
|Fava bean||1 cup||187||177|
|Turnip greens||1 cup||18||107|
|Brussels sprouts||1 cup||56||94|
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.
Folate (µg) per 100 calories
|Turnip greens||1 cup||18||594|
|Bok choy||1 cup||9||511|
|Napa cabbage||1 cup||13||362|
|Water spinach||1 cup||11||291|
|Lettuce (red leaf)||0.5 head||20||280|
|Red bell pepper||1 large||43||174|
|Brussels sprouts||1 cup||56||168|
|Mung bean||1 cup||212||151|
|Black beans||1 cup||227||113|
|Green bean||10 beans||17||106|
|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.