Food Sources of Choline

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Food Sources of Choline
Beef liver is the highest nutritional source of choline. (beef liver on white plate image by radarreklama from Fotolia.com)

The human body cannot make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine or cell components phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin without the essential nutrient choline. Choline metabolises fat and moves it out of the liver.

Choline deficiency symptoms include liver fat deposits and liver dysfunction issues, according to the Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Alzheimer's patients have reduced brain levels of choline.

Nutritional sources of choline include foods with free choline and lecithin containing phosphatidylcholine.

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Protein Sources

A three and a half ounce portion of beef liver has 60.64 milligrams of free choline and 3,362.55 milligrams of lecithin for a combined total of 532.28 milligrams of choline, making it the highest nutritional source for this nutrient. The same size serving of beef steak contains 68.75 milligrams of combined choline. One large egg contains 282.32 milligrams of choline. Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 26.09 milligrams of choline and one ounce of peanuts contains 27.91 milligrams.

Caviar, lamb, soy lecithin, sunflower seeds, torula yeast and brewer's yeast are other protein based choline sources.

Vegetable Sources

One ounce of iceberg lettuce contains the highest vegetable source of free choline, but low levels of lecithin for a total choline count of 9.06 milligrams. Cauliflower contains 6.79 milligrams of free choline in a half-cup serving, but high lecithin levels give it a combined count of 22.15 milligrams of choline. Other vegetable sources of choline include tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, lentils, split peas, green beans, soybeans, flax seeds, sesame seeds, green peas, asparagus, cabbage, spinach, alfalfa and barley.

Fruit Sources

One medium orange contains 2.91 milligrams of free choline and 53.03 milligrams of lecithin for a combine choline count of 10.40 milligrams. Six ounces of 100 per cent grape juice contains 9.37 milligrams of choline. Apples and bananas also contain choline.

Dairy Sources

One cup of human breast milk contains 10.29 milligrams of choline and one cup whole cow's milk contains 9.64 milligrams.

One cup of enriched infant formula contains 11.04 milligrams of choline. One teaspoon of butter contains 1.18 milligrams of choline.

Other Sources

One tablespoon of commercial lecithin supplement contains 250 milligrams of choline, but may cause nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and gas if taken in high doses. One slice of enriched whole wheat bread contains 3.43 milligrams. A six-ounce cup of coffee contains 18.59 milligrams of free choline and 19.29 milligrams of combined choline. Brown rice, wheat germ, blackstrap molasses, oats, and bran all contain choline.

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