When it comes to nutrients, there seem to be thousands of supplements out there that promise to give you the magic dose of exactly what your body needs. From Vitamin C, to calcium, to iron, many women understand the importance of incorporating essential nutrients into their diet, however dietitian Julie Upton says that there is one vital nutrient that many women do not even know about.
“You’ve probably never heard of choline before, but this little-known nutrient is as important as calcium, vitamin C, and other vitamins and minerals,” Upton wrote on POPSUGAR. “In fact, some 94 percent of women don’t get enough choline in their diets, according to a recent study using national food intake data from more than 16,000 Americans.”
According to Upton, choline is especially important for women who are of childbearing age as similar to folic acid, choline is vital in supporting brain development in babies and women who have low choline levels are four times more likely to give birth to babies with a neural tube defect.
A good daily choline intake has also been proven to decrease women’s chances of breast cancer, as well as assisting with heart health, liver function, nerve impulse transmission and brain cell communication.
According to experts, the average woman needs around 425mg of choline per day, however there are only a few foods that are in rich in choline – hence why many women are lacking in this vital nutrient. Fish, egg yolks and liver are all among the foods that have the highest levels of choline, while broccoli, peanuts, dairy products, citrus, leafy greens and cabbage all contain lesser levels on the nutrient.
For women who are really struggling to reach their daily choline intake, supplements are available and for pregnant women and vegetarians these supplements could be particularly important.