• Dr Emma Derbyshire

Choline: 30 Food Sources


In foods, choline is found as both water-soluble and lipid-soluble forms, with the different forms influencing how absorption and metabolism occur. After absorption, water-soluble forms of choline reach the liver through portal circulation while lipid soluble forms are packaged into chylomicrons, which are absorbed and transported through lymphatic circulation.


It is worth noting that choline forms consumed during infancy are different from those consumed in adulthood. This is because the majority of choline present in human milk, the major food source for infants, is in the water-soluble form. In adulthood, however, the lipid-soluble forms of choline tend to be consumed.


Here we have collated a list of choline rich foods. For ease of use the choline content is reported as mg per approximate portion.


Food – mg per portion 1. Fried Egg – 380 2. Hard-Boiled Egg – 352 3. Poached Egg – 280 4. Scrambled Egg – 265 5. Braised Lean-Beef – 138 6. Braised Cubed Lamb for Stewing – 129 7. Pan-Broiled Cured Lean Pork – 127 8. Roasted Chicken Breast – 117 9. Roasted Soybeans – 107 10. Mackerel Fish – 102 11. Cooked Salmon Fish – 91 12. Broiled Ground Lean Beef Mince – 86 13. Fried Tofu – 85 14. Cooked Cod Fish – 84 15. Cooked Fresh Yellowfin Tuna – 78 16. Chorizo – 65 17. Cooked Shitake Mushrooms – 58 18. Baked Red Potato (including skin) – 57 19. Sun Dried Tomatoes – 57 20. Canned Kidney Beans – 45 21. Cooked Quinoa – 43 22. Non-Fat Natural Yoghurt – 38 23. Boiled Brussel Sprouts – 32 24. Boiled Broccoli – 31 25. Whole Milk – 29 26. Dry Roasted Peanuts – 24 27. Boiled Cauliflower – 24 28. Boiled Green Peas – 24 29. Raw Carrots – 6 30. Raw Apples (including skin) – 2


This table clearly shows that it is indeed eggs, meat and fish that represent the foods with the highest choline content, with soybeans and tofu being the only non-animal produced food providing over 20% of the recommended daily intake for adult females.


To reiterative, the European Adequate Intake for choline is 400mg per day for adults. In the US only around 11% (so that’s 1 in 10) of adults meet choline guidelines. This picture is likely to be very similar, if not slightly worse in the UK given current dietary shifts.  Monitoring of UK intakes and status are thus required.


References

Derbyshire E (2019). Could we be overlooking a potential choline crisis in the United Kingdom? BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health.

United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. USDA Food Composition Databases: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/nutrients/report/nutrientsfrm?max=25&offset=0&totCount=0&nutrient1=421&nutrient2=&subset=0&sort=c&measureby=g


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