Foods Rich in Vitamin B-12 & Folate

Photo, Close-up of a chicken breast dinner
Chicken breast has B vitamins. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Like all essential vitamins, folic acid and vitamin B12 are important for normal growth and development. Folic acid helps make DNA and new cells in your body. B12 is needed for metabolism and a healthy nervous system. These vitamins also work together to form red blood cells so oxygen can be transported around your body. Vitamin B12 is found naturally in animal sources and folic acid is found mainly in plant sources. Adults require 400 micrograms of folic acid and 2.4 micrograms of B12 per day, according to the Institute of Medicine.

Fortified Products

Egg Noodles in homemade bologna cuisine
Egg noodles. (Image: federicofoto/iStock/Getty Images)

Some foods are enriched with B12 and folic acid to help increase your daily intake. Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are an excellent source of B12 and folic acid. Folic acid is also added to rice, egg noodles, bread, pasta, corn meals, orange drinks and tomato juice. Tomato juice provides 10 percent of the daily value per 6 ounces and egg noodles provide 15 percent of folic acid in 1/2 cup. Vitamin B12 is also added to soy products, meat substitutes and eggnog.

Meat and Poultry

Uncooked sirloin steaks in supermarket package, unwrapped
Sirloin steak. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Beef, liver, chicken, turkey and lamb are rich sources of B12. Beef liver provides 800 percent of the daily value in one slice and top sirloin beef provides 40 percent of B12 per 3 ounces. One chicken breast contains 0.6 micrograms and one chicken liver contains 3.3 micrograms of B12. Lamb contains 2.2 micrograms of B12 per 3 ounces.

Seafood and Dairy

Trout amandine
Trout fish. (Image: kabVisio/iStock/Getty Images)

Seafood -- including clams, trout, salmon, sardines, haddock and oysters -- are a rich source of B12. Clam mollusks contain 84.1 micrograms and oysters contain 13.3 micrograms per 3 ounces. Vitamin B12 is also found in cod, catfish, crab and swordfish. Consume milk, cheese and yogurt to increase your daily B12 intake. Choose low-fat or fat-free varieties. Cottage, mozzarella, feta and ricotta cheeses are among the best dairy sources of B12. Ricotta cheese made from skimmed milk contains 0.7 micrograms and low-fat cottage cheese contains 1.4 micrograms per cup.

Plant Sources

close-up of asparagus on a plate
Asparagus. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Folic acid is found in green vegetables, including asparagus, peas, broccoli, turnip greens and spinach. Spinach contains 60 micrograms and peas contain 50 micrograms in 1/2 cup. Eat citrus fruits, avocado, papaya, cantaloupe and banana to increase your daily folic acid intake. Folic acid is also found in dried beans, such as black beans, red kidney beans, white, pinto and navy beans.

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