Given Americans’ love of tomatoes, it may be hard to believe that early settlers shunned the vegetable, certain the fruit was poisonous. Since then, science has revealed tomatoes' antioxidants and other nutrients, including folate. Folate, the naturally occurring form of folic acid, is a B-complex vitamin. Different tomatoes offer different concentrations of folate. The U.S. Department of Agriculture gives you a general idea with a nutrition facts label for the year-round average tomato.
Folic Acid in Tomatoes
One medium tomato, 2 to 3 inches in diameter and weighing just over 4 ounces, provides 18.45 micrograms of folate.
Recommended Folic Acid Intake
The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine says that newborns to 6 months of age need 65 micrograms of folic acid daily. Older babies require 80 micrograms. At 1 year of age, children should get 150 micrograms of folate. When they turn 4, give them 200 micrograms of folic acid in their diet every day. Increase the serving to 300 micrograms on their 9th birthday. From the age of 14 through adulthood, everyone needs 400 micrograms of folic acid daily.
The concentration of folate in one average tomato falls short of the daily requirement for the nutrient for every age group. Instead of eating lots of tomatoes every day to meet the recommended intake, plan a varied menu that includes different sources of folate or folic acid throughout the day. Legumes such as chickpeas and lentils provide folate. Spinach and asparagus are also good sources. Some manufacturers fortify breakfast cereals, pasta, rice and bread with folic acid.
Folic Acid’s Function
Your body needs folic acid to produce cells and to keep them functioning properly. Tissue growth also depends on the nutrient. In addition, folic acid facilitates digestion and the making of new proteins.
- University of Illinois Extension: Tomato
- Linus Pauling Institute; Folic Acid; Jane Higdon, Ph.D., et al.; April 2002
- SkipThePie.org: Tomatoes, Red, Ripe, Raw, Rear Round Average
- SkipThePie.org: SkipThePie.org Frequently Asked Questions
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Folic Acid in Diet: Overview