Various nuts provide natural sources of folate, a form of folic acid found in plant foods. Folate is a vitamin necessary for proper growth and development that is required by everyone, especially pregnant women. Consuming nuts and other folate-rich foods daily can ensure adequate intake of the vitamin. Consult a registered dietitian for a full list of folate-rich and other nutritious foods.
Nuts and Folate
Nuts are packed with folate and other vital nutrients. Some folate-rich nuts include almonds, hazel nuts, walnuts and peanuts. One-half cup or 67 g of hazel nuts provides 76 mcg of folate or 20 percent of the recommended Daily Value, or DV. A food source that provides more than 20 percent of the DV is considered a high source of folic acid. A half cup or 71 g of almonds provides 36 mcg of folate. The same serving size of chopped walnuts provides 57 mcg of folate. In addition to folate, various nuts are rich sources of fiber, protein and healthier fats like poly and monounsaturated fatty acids. Nuts also provide good sources of an array of other essential vitamins and minerals.
Folate is a B-vitamin required by the body for the growth and development of cells. It is necessary for the production of red blood cells and preventing anemia. It is especially important for women before and during pregnancy. A lack of regular folate intake can lead to a deficiency. In pregnant women, this can result in premature infants, low birth weight or neural tube defects.
Adults require 400 mcg of folate daily. Pregnant or lactating women require greater amounts, approximately 500 to 600 mcg of folate. In addition to a folate-rich diet, the Linus Pauling Institute recommends taking a multivitamin formula that provides 100 percent of the DV for folate. Folate is added to a variety of foods as folic acid. Some examples include fortified breakfast cereals, breads, pastas and juices. Other natural sources of folate include green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and legumes.
Nuts can be consumed daily, but should be limited because of their high calorie content. Consume a handful or 1 oz. of various nuts throughout the day. Try adding walnuts or almonds to your oatmeal or other high-fiber cereal. Peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews and almonds can all be added to yogurt or mixed in your favorite salad. Make your own portable trail mix by combining a variety of nuts and dried fruits. Always store nuts in a refrigerator or freezer to ensure freshness and prevent spoilage.