Choline is a nutrient which is essential for the body. Its main function is to keep the cells healthy. The cells that majorly require choline for their growth and functioning are the nervous cells and neurons. Choline helps in release and functioning of the various neurotransmitters which control various processes occurring in the body.
The neurotransmitter mainly associated with choline is acetylcholine which is associated with a number of brain related functions like memory, psychological well-being etc. Thus it can be said that choline is essential for a good mental health.
Now the guidelines and leading bodies suggest that an average daily consumption of choline for men should be around 550 mg whereas for women it should be around 425 mg per day. Now our body does create some amount of choline, however this amount is not sufficient. This is the reason why external source of choline is essential. These external sources come from various plant and animal sources.
Good Sources Of Choline Which Are Easily Available
Meat is a rich source of choline. Lean meat or red meat both can be consumed and both varieties of meats contain plenty of choline. Beef liver is supposedly one of the richest sources of choline. It can be put in a salad with some good dressing in a shredded or finely chopped form. Other meat sources which are rich in choline include chicken, turkey, lamb etc. About 80-85 gm of meat in general gives about 200-300 mg of choline to the body.
Seafood is loaded with nutritional benefits and is very good for the body. Seafood like different varieties of fishes, shrimp, prawns, squids, lobsters etc. is rich in choline. The Salmon fish is a very healthy and rich source of choline having almost 60-150 mg of choline.
Eggs are rich in choline; both the white and yellow component are good choline sources however egg yolk is comparatively richer. Considering the content of choline one large egg will give you about 100-120 mg of choline. There are some marketed products which contain dried egg yolk and such products contain almost 1500 mg per 100 gram of the product.
Milk is a rich source of calcium and protein and also has number of other advantages. Milk is moderate to good source of choline and about 1cup supplies around 30-40 mg. Milk forms a part of your daily diet and thus it is a good as well as convenient source of choline. If you consume milk twice daily (one cup or half a glass) sufficient amount of choline will be provided to your body.
5. Dairy Products
Dairy products are nothing but food items made out of milk. So other than milk even the dairy products like curd, yoghurt, paneer, cheese, butter etc. are good sources of choline.
Chocolate especially dark chocolate is a good choline source. It is better when non-sweetened or less sweet chocolate is consumed. Regarding the amount of choline supplied, about 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder contains around 15-20 mg of choline.
7. Soy Products
Soya and soy products are rich source of protein as well as choline, supplying around 200 mg of choline per 100 gm of soy flour. Even tofu which is a rich protein source is a good choline source.
8. Nuts And Seeds
It is a good habit to eat nuts and seeds instead of snacking. Additionally they are also a rich source of choline. These nuts and seeds include cashew nuts, peanuts, pistachio, almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, sesame seeds etc.
9.Fresh Fruits And Vegetables
Some vegetables and fruits are rich in choline and must be added to daily diet. Some examples are broccoli, celery, avocados, tomatoes, etc. The easy availability and low price of mentioned fruits and vegetables make it more tempting. So, try them out!
10. Herbs And Spices
Some herbs or spices which are commonly used in our kitchens are rich in choline; these are mustard seeds, chilli, garlic, parsley, dried as well as wet coriander etc. These herbs and spices are easily available and can be consumed daily.
We saw a list of natural sources of choline. It is well established that natural intake of choline via plant and animal food source is the best alternative for a choline supplement. Rather than opting for artificial supplements, natural source is the best.
Therefore for a good memory and good mental health it is advisable that you fulfil your daily requirements of choline as suggested by your nutritionist.
As a good dietary practice you can mix and combine small portions of different sources of choline rather than sticking to one source in your diet for additional health benefits.