While browsing the internet this afternoon for the latest pregnancy news, I came across an article on Medical News Today called “The Role of Choline in Fetal Development and Throughout the Lifespan” by the Egg Nutrition News Bureau. To my obsessive-compulsive ears, the world choline sounded a lot like chlorine, definitely not something I would include in a proper diet during pregnancy. Interested and slightly confused, I took a look at the article and discovered that choline is an essential nutrient for a healthy pregnancy diet required for normal cell activity, healthy brain and nerve function, liver metabolism, and the transportation of nutrients throughout the body. So, just which foods contain high amounts of such an important nutrient for a proper diet during pregnancy as choline?
A proper diet during pregnancy includes a daily intake of 450 milligrams of choline. Most prenatal vitamins contain at least some amount of choline, but an expectant mom-to-be would best be advised to get additional choline from natural sources in her healthy pregnancy diet. One of the best choline-rich foods for a proper diet during pregnancy is the egg. A single egg provides 225 milligrams of choline, which is half the recommended intake for a healthy pregnancy diet. Other foods high in this essential nutrient include meats like beef liver, codfish, and chicken. Some grains and cereals like wheat germ, quinoa, amaranth, brown rice, and soy also provide a good amount of choline necessary for a proper diet during pregnancy. I, however, will stick mostly to eggs to get my daily intake! Two large scrambled eggs mixed with cheese and cooked in olive oil give me the recommended daily amount of choline along with some calcium and heart-healthy fat.
So, why is choline such an important nutrient for a proper diet during pregnancy? Choline, as previously mentioned, is essential for normal cell activity, healthy brain and nerve function, liver metabolism, and the transportation of nutrients throughout the body. A growing unborn baby obviously needs enough choline as part of a healthy pregnancy diet in order to support its rapid growth and development at the cellular level. Furthermore, choline has been linked to the proper function of folic acid. Although an adequate consumption of folic acid has been linked to an increased risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida, an inadequate level of choline prevents a proper absorption of folic acid and thus causes a two time increase in the risk of neutral tube defects. Other congenital defects like heart defects have also been linked to an improper diet during pregnancy that is low in choline. Evidence also suggests that getting enough choline helps battle the hormone induced forgetfulness often experienced by expectant moms. So, I must remember to crack open an egg or two every day for the health of myself and my baby.
Originally written on July 19, 2010
The Role of Choline in Fetal Development and Throughout the Lifespan: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/195096.php
Eggs in a Bowl: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1428595