Nutrient to Know: Choline

by in Uncategorized, February 5, 2009

You probably haven’t heard much about choline, but you will be amazed at the important jobs this nutrient has.

What is it?
Choline is an “essential” nutrient — meaning you need to get it from food because the body can’t make enough of it. (I remember it this way: Essential nutrients must be Eaten.) Technically choline is not a vitamin, but the body uses just like it uses water-soluble vitamins like the B vitamins and vitamin C.

Why is it good for you?
Choline helps to form lecithin, a structural part of every cell in the body. It also plays a role in the formation of acetylcholine, a powerful chemical that sends messages throughout the nervous system. Some recent research also suggests that choline influences fetal brain development, so moms-to-be should make sure they are eating plenty of choline-rich foods.

Where can I find it?
Milk, eggs, liver, veggies, legumes, nuts, seeds and wheat germ all contain choline. It’s also available in supplement form and is in many multivitamins. A recent Los Angeles Times article discusses whether or not choline supplements are necessary. Eating a well-rounded diet is the best way to get your daily dose of it.

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