Choline - The Super Nutrient Found in EggsPresident's Blog
You probably already love eggs because they are nutritious. They contain protein, healthy fat, and a bunch of different vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D and selenium.
One of the less well-known nutrients in eggs is choline, which is a vitamin-like substance that’s essential in the diet. Adults need 425-500 mg of choline per day, based on gender (men require slightly more than women).
Eggs are one of the highest food sources of choline, with an impressive 147 mg per large egg. That’s about 25% of your day’s choline requirement from just one egg – and we all know that many people eat 2-3 eggs at a meal. That means you can get 50-75% of your daily choline needs at breakfast alone!
If you are fond of egg white omelettes or only eat the “whites” from hard-boiled eggs, you won’t benefit from the choline because it is only found in the egg yolk. Sure, some choline is made by our liver, but most of it comes from the food we eat. So add those yolks in when you cook with eggs.
You need choline in your diet for these reasons:
- Choline is part of all cell membranes. Without it, cells don’t function.
- Choline is a building block for acetylcholine, a vital neurotransmitter that helps control memory and mood. It’s so important for brain function.
- Choline is part of muscle control and nervous system functioning, too.
Other than eggs, foods that contain choline include beef, chicken, soybeans, fish, bread and leafy greens – but eggs are on top as the best source.
Choline and Health
Since choline is so abundant in eggs, I closely follow the ongoing research about this interesting nutrient. Scientists are currently studying choline to learn more about it and how it can affect our health. Here’s what we know so far:
Scientists have found that getting enough choline may help control blood pressure levels, which helps keep heart and blood vessels healthy. It’s unknown whether too much choline is problematic, so it’s always recommended to get choline from a balanced diet rather than take high dose supplements. More isn’t always better!
Some studies have shown that people with high levels of choline in their blood correlate with better brain function, especially for verbal and visual memory. Studies on people with Alzheimer’s disease have shown they tend to have lower concentrations of choline in their blood. Now, this doesn’t mean that having more choline can prevent Alzheimer’s – that’s too far of a leap to take from the scant research that exists so far. But it does mean that scientists are actively looking at the link between choline, Alzheimer’s disease and brain health to learn more.
Choline is essential for fetal brain development, so eggs are a great food to eat while pregnant. A recent study out of Cornell University showed that babies reap brain and cognitive benefits when their moms consumed enough choline while pregnant. During pregnancy and while breastfeeding, a woman’s choline needs increase:
Stage Choline mg/day
Adult female: 425 mg
Pregnancy: 450 mg
Lactation: 550 mg
So there you have it – choline may have been a nutrient you’ve never heard of, but now you know how vital it is! So, whip up an omelette or prepare Egg Bakes for a quick lunch, or snack on Eggs2Go when you’re on the run. Your brain and heart will thank you.
Breakfast and Brunch Boards
I was so taken by the beautiful cookbook On Boards by inspiring Canadian food stylist Lisa Dawn Bolton. Since its publication, I’ve really upped my “board” game. Traditionally, these meal-on-a-board options were filled with a variety of deli meats, cheeses, olives and gherkins but I’ve quickly learned that eggs can play a beautiful role on boards as well.
The Importance of Protein for an Aging Population
Protein is a vital nutrient that’s important for all age groups because it’s required by every cell in the human body. Since protein needs tend to increase as we get older, researchers are now paying special attention to the protein needs of the people over age 65. This is especially true for older adults who may be dealing with acute or chronic illnesses which causes excessive wear and tear on the body. While dealing with an illness, aging bodies process protein less efficiently and need more of it to maintain bone health, muscle mass and strength.