Foods that provide a good source of choline are eggs, liver, peanuts, fish and spinach. Vegetables such as broccoli, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, asparagus and cauliflower are also rich sources of choline. Meats rich in choline include chicken, shrimp, turkey, salmon and beef.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has described choline as an essential nutrient. It states the adequate intake for adult males as 550 mg per day while the same for females is 425. Choline is a vital nutritional component that offers multiple health benefits. Several key biochemical processes in the body, including methylation reaction, neurotransmitter action and fat metabolism.
Choline is involved in the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine, a major building block of the cell membrane. Phosphatidylcholine accounts for about 95 percent of total choline in tissues. Choline also helps synthesize sphingomyelin, a type of phospholipid that is found on the fatty sheath covering myelinated nerve fibers.
A deficiency in choline can lead to metabolic disorders such as obesity, insulin resistance and hypertension. Lack of sufficient choline is also a known cause of a liver condition known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. This causes accumulation of fat in the liver that can lead to significant liver damage, increasing the risk of cirrhosis and cancer.