Choline is rarely talked about but a must-have nutrient. With its ability to benefit the brain, nervous system and liver, making sure you get choline-packed foods into your diet is crucial for keeping your health in tip-top shape.
Some facts about Choline?
Choline is considered a water-soluble, organic compound — not a mineral or a vitamin. While it's not considered a vitamin, it is often grouped with other B complex vitamins due to its similarities and effects on vital body functions. While the body can produce some choline on its own, it's not enough to meet your daily choline requirements. Because of this, choline was recognized by the Institute of Medicine as an essential nutrient in 1998, according to a November 2009 article in Nutrition Reviews. The Adequate Intake (AI) for adults is 550 milligrams per day for men and 425 milligrams per day for women. While there is no recommended amount of choline in supplement form, the recommenced Tolerable Upper Intake Level is set at 3.5 grams per day for adults.
The health benefits of Choline
Choline is essential for many bodily functions and it's been linked with several health benefits. Choline helps to keep your cells and organs operating correctly. The nutrient helps facilitate several cell and organ functions including lipid transport, neurotransmitter signaling, and cell-membrane functions."Choline plays an important role in many of the body's functions and processes including:
- Nervous system: Choline is required to make the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is involved in muscle movement, regulating heartbeat and formulating memories, to name a few.
- Cell integrity: Choline is needed to make the necessary fats that give the cell membranes their structure, according to the National Institutes of Health.
- Cell communication: Choline takes a role in the production of compounds, called cell messengers, that aide in cell communication.
Choline and brain health
Choline has shown promising results for brain health and the nervous system. In a small April 2015 study, 24 healthy volunteers got a single dose of choline before cognition testing. When compared to a placebo, choline supplementation improved processing speed, working memory, verbal learning, verbal memory, and executive function, per the Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior study. What's more, choline and B vitamins are associated with promoting recovery after a stroke in mice, a study published in July 2017 in Neurobiology of Disease found. Additionally, choline was observed to promote neuroplasticity and increased antioxidant activity, which may benefit the central nervous system after a stroke. However, additional research needs to be conducted to confirm these results in humans.
Choline and liver health
Studies have also shown a link between choline intake and liver health. A study of more than 56,000 participants found that weight women with the highest intake of choline were observed to have a lower risk of liver disease when compared to those with the lowest intake, research published in December 2014 in The Journal of Nutrition found. While the study showed no association for men or overweight women, some people may benefit from higher levels of choline. Another study published in April 2012 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that lower intakes of choline were associated with an increase in disease severity in people with non-alcoholic liver disease.
Honey Mustard Pork Chops with Balsamic-Braised Red Cabbage
Marinated in Honey Mustard Vinaigrette with a touch of tangy, sweetness for an excellent protein choice when served with shredded braised red cabbage on the side. Try out this recipe for a new twist of an old favourite.
Did you know? A 170-gram pork chop contains 152.8 milligrams of choline or 28 percent DV. Lean pork chops also provide 32 percent DV of zinc and 45 percent DV of vitamin B12. Download the full recipe here, just click on the image below.
Other Foods High in Choline
Making sure that you get enough Choline is very important for brain health. Check out our list of the top ten foods richest in choline, according to the UDSA:
- Lean Chicken Breast
- Beef (Skirt Steak)
- Navy Beans
- Low-Fat Milk
- Green Peas
When cooking protein-rich foods high in choline, it's recommended that you grill, roast or bake for maximum nutritional benefit. These cooking methods don't require oil, so you can avoid adding extra fat to your meal. Also, check out the new timing feature links within the recipe.