What Are the Benefits of Choline?

K.C. Bruning

Some of the benefits of choline, an essential nutrient, include proper transportation of fat through the body, nerve development, and the growth of cell membranes. It is believed to be important for brain and muscle mass function as well. Overall, choline has been found to be important both in the development and maintenance of healthy bodies and as protection against disease.

Kidney beans, which contain choline.
Kidney beans, which contain choline.

The benefits of choline are often most marked in newborns. This is primarily because babies grow quickly and need ample supply of essential nutrients in order to develop normally. All the functions of cell, nerve, and brain development provided by this essential nutrient are of key importance during this time.

Cauliflower contains choline.
Cauliflower contains choline.

Another one of the benefits of choline is its ability to both heal and protect the liver. The nutrient keeps fatty deposits from accumulating in the liver, while promoting the healthy distribution of fat throughout the body. It may also help to prevent liver disease.

Spinach contains high levels of choline.
Spinach contains high levels of choline.

Studies have been conducted in order to follow up on evidence that prevention of memory loss is another of the benefits of choline. The proven benefit of the nutrient in the development of newborn brains is believed to also strengthen the aging brain. Choline has been found to be less successful in the restoration of brain function.

Other studies have been conducted to investigate possible evidence that choline can fight other diseases. There are some varieties of cancer that may be prevented by the nutrient. It is also believed to be able to fight cardiovascular disease by lowering levels of bad cholesterol and homocysteine, which is an amino acid.

There has been some concern that many people do not consume sufficient amounts of choline due to the perceived unhealthy nature of the foods that contain the nutrient. Many doctors suggest consuming a low-fat diet, which would exclude foods such as beef, eggs, and nut butters that are high in choline. This can be especially problematic for post-menopausal, nursing, and pregnant women who need higher quantities of the nutrient. Vegans, vegetarians, and people who consume large amounts of alcohol are also at risk of a choline deficiency.

Though it can be found in supplements, choline is best consumed in food. In addition to eggs and beef, some of the foods with the highest levels of the nutrient include beef liver and milk with fat. Some lower-fat options with choline include cauliflower, spinach, and kidney beans. There are also grains, such as amaranth, wheat germ, and quinoa, which contain choline.

Quinoa contains choline.
Quinoa contains choline.

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