Choline is one of the newest nutrients to join the list of important vitamins. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) determined in the late nineties that choline is one of the nutrients necessary in our daily meals.
Since our diets are often depleted of the substance, we can’t rely on our inner stores of choline to ensure optimal amounts. Though there is some question regarding how much choline is best, there are some foods that provide a good amount of the nutrient naturally.
How is Choline Beneficial?
· Methylation: A basic life process that, among other functions, builds DNA, promotes brain signal exchange, and detoxes the liver. Without methylation, problems like memory loss and heart disease become an issue. Choline acts as partner to folate, vitamins B6, and B12 to ensure adequate methylation.
· Membrane Structure: Choline helps produce phosphatidylcholine, one of the most important structural building blocks of a living cell.
· Nervous System Activity: Choline is a key component of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is vital to the functioning of your heart and intestines. Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter that tells your muscles to contract.
Choline Food Sources
Choline is found in plant and animal foods, as well as some processed foods. Eggs especially are high in choline. It is possible to obtain one-quarter to one-third of the daily choline requirement from just one egg yolk.
The foods most rich in choline are generally animal products, but vegetable are excellent sources as well.
Best options include collard greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, Swiss chard, cauliflower, and asparagus. Any of these will meet the recommended daily choline amount. Shrimp, scallops, and cod provide adequate choline as well.
An average American gets about 100 mg of extra choline per day from food additives. It is recommend that people get 425 mg of choline daily. Obtaining choline from your food is the most effective way to increase your intake.
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