Our bodies need a steady supply of what used to be known as
vitamin B9. It comes in several forms. In food, it's called
folate. A synthetic form, folic acid, is added to some foods and
used as an ingredient in vitamin supplements. The body absorbs
folic acid faster than it absorbs folate. But folic acid must
then be converted into folate before it can get to work.
When referring to the amounts of these in food, the USDA relies
on what it calls dietary folate equivalents (DFE). The DFE of a
food equals the amount contributed by folate naturally in the
food plus 1.7 times the times the amount of added folic acid. In
list of folate in foods, it uses the DFE to rank foods,
putting breakfast cereals and other fortified foods near the top.
Here's a list of foods naturally rich in folate.
Naturally occurring folate in food
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