International studies are increasing our awareness and understanding of choline every day but many people still don’t know what it is and why it’s so important for our health.
With eggs providing some of the highest quantities of choline of any food, Australian Eggs has delved into what exactly choline is, how it benefits our bodies, and where you can find this important micronutrient in your daily diet.
What Is Choline?
Choline is a nutrient that is made in the liver. However, as most people don't produce enough choline to meet daily requirements, it also needs to be provided through the food that we eat.
Choline is essential for normal human health and due to its similarity in function to the B vitamins, it is commonly grouped together with them.
Research suggests that choline plays an important role in brain and spinal cord development during pregnancy, cognitive development in infants and may also help prevent cognitive decline in the elderly. Until recently, the role of choline as part of a balanced diet had been largely overlooked.
Choline and Pregnancy
Given its role in developing a healthy brain and nervous system functions, choline is particularly important during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Choline plays a role in reducing the risk of certain birth defects, as well as supporting foetal cognitive and spinal cord development.
Benefits of Choline
Choline is essential for a range of reasons, including:
Helping to create fats that support the structural integrity of cell membranes and contribute to strong cell membranes.
Helping to create a substance that is essential for removing cholesterol from the liver and sending it into the bloodstream to use for energy. To find out more about eggs and cholesterol click here.
Contributing to methylation, a metabolic process that helps your body repair and produce DNA.
Helping produce acetylcholine, which is an important neurotransmitter that is needed for muscle control, memory, focus, and heartbeat regulation, among other basic functions.
How Much Choline Do I Need?
The National Health and Medical Research Council sets out recommendations for choline intake, which varies by age and gender.
For adults, the Adequate Intake (AI) is 425mg for women and 550mg per day for men. This AI is only a guideline as there is currently insufficient research to set a specific recommended dietary intake (RDI).
Do Eggs Have Choline?
Eggs are the most common sources of choline in the Australian diet, providing more than double the amount of choline per 100g than any other commonly eaten food.
Along with a host of other nutrients and vitamins, one large hard-boiled egg contains 164mg of choline. This provides about 30-36% of your daily requirement. The egg yolk is key as egg white does not contain any choline.
Other Choline Rich Foods
Choline can also be found in foods such as meat, fish and milk, as well as some green vegetables and whole grains. Other choline rich foods include:
Beef or chicken liver
Fish and shellfish, including cod, salmon, and tuna
Cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and peas
Learn More About the Benefits of Eggs
Having a high choline content is one of the best health benefits eggs can provide but they can also help you meet many other nutritional needs. Find out more about the role of eggs in daily nutrition today.