Choline is an essential nutrient naturally present in certain foods and is found as a supplement. Also, the body can produce a small amount of itself in the liver, but not enough to meet daily needs. Choline converts to a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which helps muscles contract, activates the pain response, and plays a role in memory and thinking brain activity. Most choline is metabolized in the liver where it is converted to phosphatidylcholine, which helps to make fat-carrying proteins and break down cholesterol. Here we are going to discuss choline-rich foods.
Choline Rich Foods
At over 414 milligrams per 100-gram serving, pan-fried beef liver is one of the richest choline sources. Chicken liver contains slightly less choline content with 200 milligrams for the same serving, which is still about half of your daily amount required.
Just one large egg contains almost 140 milligrams of choline in its yellow yolk — there’s not any choline in the egg whites. Eggs are high in cholesterol, however. While healthy for most people as a part of a balanced diet, consuming too much cholesterol can cause health problems for people with diabetes or at risk of heart disease.
Cooked beef is high in choline, with levels varying based on the cut. For example, a cup of ground beef contains 100 milligrams and a skirt steak has 51 milligrams per four-ounce serving. Because some cuts of meat can be high in saturated fats, choose a lean variety for its nutritional benefits without adding too much fat to your diet.
A serving of lean chicken breast contains about 15% of your choline content for the day. Depending on your taste, turkey products have comparable choline levels to chicken, including turkey drumsticks, bacon, and both light and dark meats.
Fish are a rich source of many vitamins and minerals, including choline. Caviar lovers can get 139 milligrams from a one-ounce serving, while fish roe used in dishes like sushi has 95 milligrams of choline per ounce. Other fish varieties also contain high choline levels as well, like 100 grams of cod at 291 milligrams, salmon, haddock, and most white fish at 95 milligrams.
Choline is present in most green vegetables but most heavily concentrated in broccoli. One cup of cooked broccoli has more than 60 milligrams of choline, making it an excellent source for people who avoid meat and dairy products.
Raw soybeans contain 216 milligrams of choline per cup, adding soy products to the list of choline sources for those on a plant-based diet. How the soybeans are processed can affect this choline content, however. Products may vary, but on average you can get 106 milligrams of choline from a 100-gram serving of tofu, 56 milligrams from a cup of soymilk, but only trace amounts in soybean oil.
Choline is available in a wide range of dairy products. A cup of 2% fat milk contains 40 milligrams of choline, and depending on the product, most cheeses have between 36 and 65 milligrams per 100 grams. While you should limit your overall sugar intake, you can even get 20 milligrams of choline from a milk chocolate bar.
A cup of cauliflower adds about 47 milligrams of choline to your meal. You can either cook the cauliflower to get its choline — plus the rest of its health-boosting nutrients — or eat it raw, like grating it into cauliflower rice or a salad.
Choline Benefits for Health
Choline Benefits for Nervous System Function
Our bodies need choline to produce acetylcholine. Research shows this compound is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in functions like memory, muscle movement, maintaining your heartbeat, and even your mood. While research is ongoing, choline is being studied for its potential to boost long-term cognitive health, including reducing the risk of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
Choline Benefits for Metabolism
Metabolism refers to our bodies’ chemical reactions that change food into energy and break down nutrients to support healthy functions. Choline is a vital nutrient for normal metabolic processes, like breaking down fats that maintain good cell membrane structure and carrying nutrients around your body.
Choline Benefits for Liver Health
Choline is also required to clear cholesterol from your liver. Deficiencies cause fat and cholesterol accumulation in your liver, which puts you at risk for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease