The Top 10 High-Folate Foods For Fertility

The Top 10 High-Folate Foods For Fertility

Folate, aka Vitamin B9, occurs naturally in foods and is necessary for healthy growth and development. It is particularly important to the healthy development of babies in early pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. The neural tube closes and fuses very early in pregnancy and if it doesn’t close, the result is a neural tube defect (NTD) such as spina bifida. 

It is recommended by all professional medical bodies to take folate supplements at least one month before conception and ideally for at least the first three months of pregnancy, plus eat a healthy diet high in natural folate.

For most women, 500µg (micrograms) daily is recommended and most over-the-counter pregnancy formulations in Australia are formulated with this amount (though always check the label just in case). If you have the MFTHR gene mutation, have type 1 or 2 diabetes, or have a high BMI, you will likely need a higher dose of up to 5,000µg (ie 5mg) and your doctor can prescribe this for you.  

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Foods rich in folate

Food can be split into 2 groups - fortified and natural. Fortified foods as the name suggests have a synthetic form of folate - folic acid - added. Australian millers are required to add folic acid (a form of the B vitamin folate) to wheat flour for bread-making purposes (excluding organic flour). 

The most folate-rich natural foods are legumes, pulses, and leafy green vegetables:

 

µg /Cup

% Daily Value

1. Edamame

482

121%

2. Borlotti Beans

366

92%

3. Lentils

358

90%

4. Chickpeas

282

71%

5. Asparagus

268

67%

6. Cooked Spinach

263

65%

7. Cooked Broccoli

168

42%

8. Cooked Beetroot

136

34%

9. Avocado

163 in each

41%

10. Mango

71 

18%

 

If you are planning on getting pregnant or are in the early stages of pregnancy, it’s best to take a daily folic acid supplement, as well as eat high-folate foods.  Some women need more folate, so you should see your doctor for advice.

Want to find out more?

If you have any questions, you can arrange a nurse chat with one of our fertility nurses.

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For more health and wellness information on how to increase your chances of conception, check out our fertility news page, or download our e-book below.

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