Not only is choline an important B vitamin, but it’s also a nutrient that’s essential for a number of biological processes. These include DNA formation and healthy liver function, as well as helping to form tissue within the nervous system that plays a part in brain development and growth. As this nutrient is integral to various body processes, it’s important to maintain proper levels within the body. Although the body does produce choline, it only does so in small amounts thus one must obtain choline through dietary sources.
This article is going to look at the numerous benefits that the mineral can provide, as well as provide a list of choline-rich foods so that you can incorporate them into your diet in order to maintain overall health and wellness.
Benefits of Choline
1. Cell and DNA formation
Choline helps to maintain integrity as well as the formation of cells. It does this by helping the body absorb fats which are used to create cell membranes and structures. The presence of this nutrient in the body also allows the cells to signal messages to other parts of the body. Moreover, along with other B vitamins such as folate, choline is part of the vital process responsible for the formation of DNA which helps build out every system within the body.
2. Liver function
During the metabolism of fats, the liver breaks down the fats in order to produce energy.
By playing a part in the transportation of fat from the liver to cells, choline helps to cleanse the liver and prevent fat build-up, which can increase the risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes.
3. Boosts brain function
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that helps to maintain memory and cognitive performance and choline helps to encourage its production within the body. By maintaining the levels of acetylcholine within the body, this nutrient helps to preserve memory and protect the brain against cognitive decline.
4. May protect heart health
Homocysteine is an amino acid – found in protein sources such as meat – whose elevated levels in the body have been linked to the development of heart and blood vessel diseases. Choline, along with folate, helps to convert homocysteine tomethionine, thus preventing the over-accumulation of fat within the body. This helps to lower the risk of heart disease, heart attack or stroke. Click here to find out why cod liver oil should be in your diet.
5. Supports a healthy pregnancy
Due to its close association with folate, choline has become an important nutrient during pregnancy. Furthermore, this nutrient is also naturally present in breast milk and is often added to infant formulas. According to one study, women who had a higher intake of choline around conception faced significantly lower risks of neural tube defects, compared to women with very low intakes.
Aside from supplements, choline can be found in the following foods:
- Beef Liver
- Navy Beans
- grass-fed beef
- Brussels sprouts.
Click here to find out what Harvard Health says are the most important brain foods that all children need for healthy development.