Here’s the deal: by definition, choline is a water soluble nutrient that is related to other vitamins, such as folate and those in the B vitamin complex family.
But … what does that mean?
Well, choline is a macronutrient that is essential for liver function, normal brain development, nerve function, muscle movement, supporting energy levels and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Basically, it plays a part in several important processes within the body that are carried out hundreds of times, every.single.day.
Wanna know why you haven’t heard much about it? Because back in the day, it was guilty by association of being friends with cholesterol. Up until recently, cholesterol was a bad thing. Now it’s back in everyone’s popular book, and choline is making it’s appearance again.
It’s a mega important macronutrient for pregnant and breastfeeding mamas, as it playings an important role in the fetal development of the brain and nervous system. Because infants require such a high amount of choline to support the development of their nervous systems, choline is naturally present in breast milk … however, with that being said, the presence of choline in breast milk is directly related to the mom’s dietary intake.
Choline is needed to properly transport fat from the liver to cells throughout the body. A benefit of choline is cleansing the liver because choline is partially responsible for keeping the liver clear from fat buildup that can accumulate and cause harm. Choline plays a part in transporting both cholesterol and triglycerides, two forms of important fats, from the liver to other parts of the body where they are needed.
It also helps to improve mental energy, focus and concentration, which are all important for physical activity and athletic performance. Choline can also be beneficial in improving energy levels, mood, sleep cycles, and recovery time following strenuous activity (like a REBEL class!).
Additionally, choline is used in muscle nerve functioning and may be useful in preventing fatigue and muscle aches or pains following exercise. Every time a muscle moves within the body, choline is needed to activate the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which sends chemical signals to muscles and makes them mobile.
Basically, you need it. It’s essential. And recent studies have shown that a large portion of American adults do not get enough choline in their diets.
That’s where we can help! While you can support with choline intake with supplements, choline does exist naturally in many foods. Here are our favs:
Eggs: ever wonder why eggs are referred to as brain food? Because they pack a punch of choline in such a little package! The yolks are where the choline is present, so give up your egg white omelets and include the whole dang egg.
Salmon: another classic brain food. It contains high levels of choline PLUS all those healthy Omega-3 fatty acids that we’re always talking about.
Cruciferous vegetables: cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, and broccoli all contain decent amounts of choline. Eat ‘em raw or steam them and throw some grass-fed butter on them.
Grass-fed, raw dairy: always the healthier option, raw dairy products haven’t been subject to pasteurization, so all of the fragile nutrients - choline - are kept intact.