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15 Choline-Rich Foods For Pregnant Women

Choline is a key nutrient during pregnancy along with proteins, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid. The role of this vital nutrient is, however, not much known to many during the prenatal period. But, in the past few years, the benefits of choline for pregnancy are widely recognised in obstetrics and paediatrics.

Phosphatidylcholine, a source of choline, is made in the liver. However, the content to too low to meet the dietary requirements, which is why choline requirements are met through dietary sources to get their benefits. [1]

Intake of choline during pregnancy helps in many placental functions such as fetal brain development and prevention of birth defects. Deficiency of choline can lead to impaired fetal growth disorders such as preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction.

The average daily requirement of choline during pregnancy is 450 mg with 550 mg during lactation.


1. Eggs

Eggs are the primary sources of choline. Among the egg yolk and egg white, the prior contain this vital nutrient while the latter does not contain any amount. Hard-boiled eggs are enough to provide around 50 per cent of the dietary choline requirements during pregnancy. Be cautious to clean the eggs before the consumption. [2]

How much choline: One large hard-boiled egg contains 147 mg per serving.


2. Chilgoza Or Pine Nuts

Chilgoza or pine nuts are the edible seeds of pines. They are the primary sources of choline. Consumption of pine nuts during pregnancy may provide life-long cognitive benefits to the offspring.

How much choline (per 100 g): 55.8 mg


3. Broccoli

Broccoli is a cruciferous veggie that provides most of the choline through dietary sources. Cooked, boiled and drained broccoli are suggested by experts during pregnancy to prevent the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure in infants later in life.

How much choline (per 100 g): 18.7 mg


4. Chicken Breast

Choline during pregnancy helps prevent the risk of neural tube defects in children. It is also essential for the baby's brain development. roasted chicken breast is an amazing source of choline and may help prevent the aforementioned pregnancy complications.

How much choline: 3 ounces of roasted chicken breast contains 72 mg per serving.


5. Banana

Not only is a banana a vital source of potassium but also a source of choline that helps in preventing the risk of pregnancy-related constipation and provides vital nutrients both to the mother and the baby.

How much choline (per 100 g): 9.8 mg


6. Shittake Mushrooms

Cooked shiitake mushrooms are packed with choline. They are delicious in flavour and safe during pregnancy. Apart from choline, they are also rich in vitamin D, protein, vitamin B, fibre, iron and antioxidants.

How much choline (per 100 g):202 mg


7. Sunflower Seeds

For the expectant mom, sunflower seeds are the best dietary source as they are packed with choline and folic acid. It helps in strengthening the baby's teeth and bones and prevent the risk of gestational diabetes.

How much choline (per 100 g): 55.1 mg


8. Quinoa

Quinoa is loaded with choline and can be the best vegan diet during pregnancy. This whole-grain food source also contains ample amount of fibre, proteins and vitamins which help prevent birth defects in newborns.

How much choline (per 100 g): 70. 2 mg


9. Low Fat Milk

Dairy products are a good source of choline, especially low-fat milk. They are low in carbs and calories and prevents weight gain during pregnancy. Choline ensures high cognitive benefits to the offspring.

How much choline (per 100 g): 16 mg


10. Salmon

This seafood is the primary source of choline. Salmon is also packed with other vital pregnancy nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and proteins. Choline during pregnancy helps in many crucial metabolic and physiologic processes.

How much choline: Three ounces of salmon contains 71 mg per serving.


11. Navy Beans

Legumes such as navy beans are best during the pregnancy and lactation period. Choline in this food item benefits a pregnant lady by promoting baby's bone and brain development and also help in the formation of red blood cells in the mother's body.

How much choline: 1 cup or 182 g of cooked navy beans contain 81.35 mg.


12. Fresh Cod

Cod, a kind of seafood, is considered safe during pregnancy but in a minimum amount. It is healthy and nutritious, similar to salmon. Consuming fresh cod during pregnancy may help eliminate the risk of birth defects in offspring.

How much choline (per 100 g): 65.2 mg


13. Soybean Oil

For pregnant and breastfeeding women, sunflower oil can be the best dietary source of choline. Soybean oil is also low in unsaturated fats and makes for a great edible oil in managing weight gain during pregnancy.

How much choline (per 100 g): 350 mg


14. Whole Wheat Bread

Whole wheat bread is not only packed with choline but other vital nutrients such as fibre, folic acid and iron. Together, these nutrients help in the healthy development of the baby and provide adequate nutrition to the mother.

How much choline (per 100 g): 26.5 mg


15. Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are a rich source of choline and antioxidants. Experts suggest the consumption of kidney beans during pregnancy to prevent the risk of birth defects and gestational diabetes. Make sure to cook and boil them properly.

How much choline (per 100 g): 65.9 mg

Story first published: Thursday, December 10, 2020, 18:58 [IST]
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