Abstract: Folate deficiency increases the risk of chronic diseases, including neural tube defects (NTDs) in infants, megaloblastic anemia, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers in adults. China is the most NTDs prevalent area in the world. Folate deficiency in China can be reduced by proper supply of fresh leafy green vegetables but little is known about the folate content and vitamers in the vegetables commonly consumed by Chinese population. The purposes of this study were first to analyze most commonly consumed important vegetables that contribute to folate intake in the Chinese population and second to estimate the significance of selected vegetables as a source of dietary folate intake. Folate content and vitamers forms in vegetables were analyzed using a valid liquid chromatography method. Monoenzyme treatment was used for leafy green and some fruit vegetables, and dienzyme treatment for some root vegetables. Total folate content in commonly consumed vegetables ranged from 14.78 to 145.54 μg/100 g in edible portion with an average of 61.99 μg/100 g. The highest folate content (>140 μg/100 g) was found in pak choi and spinach. Total folate contents in leafy vegetables, fruit vegetables, and root vegetables were in the range of 17.22 to 145.54 μg/100g, 18.14 to 86.04 μg/100g, and 14.78 to75.81 μg/100g, respectively. The considerable variations in folate content were found in different types of vegetables commonly consumed by Chinese population. Leafy vegetables are a better source of folate than fruit and root vegetables commonly consumed by Chinese population.
Practical Application: Data from this research would facilitate to accurately establish the actual folate intake by Chinese population. Our folate composition data on vegetables can be incorporated into the national food databases. Availability of such data is essential for estimating folate intake and defining an optimal level for fortification program in China.