Folic Acid: Now Hear This

Lentils, a source of folic acid, significantly reduce hearing and memory loss. They don't taste too bad either.

By Lydia Fong, published on May 1, 2007 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016

Like it or not, you're scheduled to lose a significant portion of your hearing by the age of 60. Fortunately, there's evidence that folic acid, a vitamin found in green vegetables and beans, can help prevent hearing and memory loss. In a study from the Netherlands, older adults who took daily folic acid supplements over a three-year period avoided the type of age-related hearing loss that muffles voices. It also improved their performance on memory tests—in fact, their memory abilities were similar to those of people seven years younger. The findings join other research linking high folic acid levels to healthier pregnancies and the prevention of heart disease and cancer.

Get Your Ears in Tune

Here are some other folate-rich foods:

Food: Lentils

Folic Acid: 358 mcg/cup

% Daily Recommended Intake: 90%

Food: Chickpeas

Folic Acid: 282 mcg/cup

% Daily Recommended Intake: 71%

Food: Asparagus

Folic Acid: 263 mcg/cup

% Daily Recommended Intake: 66%

Food: Collard Greens

Folic Acid: 177 mcg/cup

% Daily Recommended Intake: 44%

Food: Papaya

Folic Acid: 116 mcg/cup

% Daily Recommended Intake: 29%

Czech Lentils

"This lentil dish was a specialty of my grandmother, Blanka Skopek. Lentils are known as čočka (pronounced "chochka") in Czech and are a traditional New Year's dish, because they symbolize prosperity." —
Kaja Perina

  • 12 Servings
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes


  • 2 cups lentils
  • 8 cups of water, vegetable broth, or half and half
  • 1 to 3 garlic cloves (optional)
  • 1 onion (halved with cloves stuck in each half)
  • 5 stalks parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp. thyme
  • 2 onions (sautéed)
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • egg and bacon (optional)


In a large pot, fill water to 2 inches above lentils. Bring to a boil (on medium); let boil 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Return to pot. Fill pot (to 1 inch above lentils) with water or broth or half-and-half. Add onion halves and seasoning bouquet (parsley, bay leaf, and thyme, tied with cooking string). Cover and bring to a boil on medium-high. Don't stir. Boil until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Add more liquid if lentils are not tender. Discard bouquet and onion. Add sauteed onions. Add vinegar and stir. Top with fried egg and bacon.