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Choline: The Mystery Nutrient

By Sara Butler

There’s a nutrient that’s about to make a big splash on the food label scene that you may have never heard of: choline. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA) has announced the first major revision to the food label in almost 20 years – and it’s the addition of choline. What is this nutrient and why is it such a big deal? Read on to find out!

Why Choline is Important

Choline is associated with an improved liver function, heart health, maternal and fetal health, sports performance, child development, and cognition. Yet as important as it is to overall health and wellness, only about 23 percent of people have ever heard of it. That may be why, according to the USDA, 90 percent of Americans aren’t getting enough choline in their diet. It’s a nutrient a lot like Vitamin B, it turns out. Meaning that the body doesn’t make it on its own, it has to be eaten.

Who Should Eat More Choline?

Everyone should be eating enough choline every day. It’s an important nutrient to keep the liver functioning at its best, the brain working well, the metabolism humming, and the muscles contracting. If you don’t get enough of it, then you’re more prone to problems such as fatty liver, memory issues, heart problems, mood disorders, and muscle damage.

If you’re a woman who is pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, choline is also important to the health of the baby. It promotes healthy brain development and helps to keep the placenta healthy during pregnancy, too. Breast milk is actually incredibly rich in this nutrient to help support healthy neurological development in babies.

How Much Do You Need?

The USDA recommends 550 milligrams of choline per day. On the new nutrition labels that will start to roll out in early 2018, you will be able to see which foods help you to reach this daily goal. Until that happens, you can get the choline you need in the following foods:

  • Chicken liver
  • Salmon
  • Quinoa
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Cauliflower
  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Wheat germ
  • Bacon
  • Flaxseed
  • Almonds
  • Tomato paste
  • Pecans
  • Oat bran
  • Soy flour

Do you think you’re getting enough choline in your diet? Consider adding some of these foods to help you reach your daily goals and keep your brain and body healthy! And don't forget to start looking on food packaging in 2018 for this nutrient!

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Henderson, Nev. 


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