Last year at this time I was pregnant and I didn’t give the nutrient, choline much attention. After attending a conference last week I wish I would have. Choline started to get the interest of nutrition researchers when it was found that fetal rats whose mothers didn’t get enough choline in their diets had less brain development and poorer memories after birth than those whose mothers ate adequate amounts of the nutrient.
Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, the author of Expect the Best, states in her book that choline is essential for the normal functioning of all cells, especially those in the brain, the liver, and the central nervous system. Choline works in tandem with folic acid to promote proper nervous systems development during pregnancy. Therefore, decreasing the risk that babies will be born with neural tube defects.
It is recommended that pregnant women get 450 mg/day of choline and breastfeeding women get 550 mg/day. It is estimated that only 10% of pregnant and breastfeeding women in the U.S. are meeting this recommendation. At this time most prenatal vitamins supply little or no choline. So it is recommended that pregnant women eat foods that are high in choline. Below is a chart developed by the FDA showing excellent and good sources of choline. Good sources of choline that are not listed on the chart below are Beans 60-70 mg choline per 1 cup and Milk 45 mg choline per 1 cup.
Check out this excellent web site that provides additional information about choline, CholineInfo.org