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On the Menu: Folate the Protective Micronutrient

Today's On the Menu segment is about Folate, a protective micronutrient.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Best known for its role in the prevention of neural tube defects (anencephaly and spina bifida), Folate has been studied for its protective role against cognitive decline and its potential to reduce the risk of depression and dementia. Registered Dietitian Sara Nychypor from Mercy Health talks about healthy sources of Folate.

Facts about Folate:

  • Folate is best known for its role in the prevention of neural tube defects: anencephaly and spina bifida. For this reason, women of child bearing age are encouraged to take a daily multivitamin containing 400-800mcg of folic acid.  
  • In 1998, the FDA mandated folic acid fortification of enriched grain products to help with reduction of neural tube defects
  • Folate has been studied for its protective role against cognitive decline. It may reduce the risk of depression and dementia

There are many good food sources of Folate:

  •  Lentils, beans and peas
  • Brussel sprouts
  •  Avocado
  • Raw spinach, kale, collard greens and romaine
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Citrus fruits: oranges, papaya
  • Fortified grains and cereals 
  • Seeds and nuts, especially peanuts, almonds and walnuts
  • Squash 
  • Carrots 
  • Corn

Check out these recipes, packed full of flavor and folate:

Spinach Salad with Quinoa, Squash and Cranberry Apple

*walnuts, spinach, kale and squash all contain folate


  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked 
  • 1 large apple, chopped 
  • 1 cup cubed and roasted butternut squash
  • ½ cup walnuts 
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese 
  • 3 cups fresh spinach or kale 


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Dash of salt and pepper  

Cook quinoa in 2 cups water. Roast squash in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Toss quinoa with apple, squash, nuts, cranberries, cheese and spinach. Make dressing and pour over all. 

Roasted Brussel Sprout Tacos

*brussels sprouts, almonds, beans, corn, and avocado all contain folate 


  • Brussel sprouts, sliced
  • Sliced radishes
  • Queso fresco
  • Shaved almonds
  • Black beans
  • Corn 
  • Avocado 
  • Chili aioli: mix 2 tsp chili powder into ¼ cup mayonnaise, thin with milk
  • Corn or flour tortillas 

Roast Brussel sprouts in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Serve on tortillas topped with black beans, corn, almonds and radishes. Drizzle with chili aioli. 

Information and recipes courtesy of Sara Nychypor, RDN.


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