20 Foods High in Choline for Plant-Based and Meat-Eaters Alike

Pair your steak with a side of potatoes or beans for even more choline.
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When it comes to micronutrients, there's plenty of discussion about how much vitamin D, calcium and vitamin B12 you need. But choline isn't mentioned quite as much.

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That doesn't mean you don't need to get enough of this essential nutrient. The brain and nervous system need it to regulate mood, memory and muscles, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and it's a vital part of the membranes surrounding your body's cells.

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Most Americans don't get enough choline in their diets. People assigned female at birth (AFAB) need 425 milligrams of choline a day (and the recommendation is higher if you're pregnant, at 450 milligrams, or breastfeeding, at 550 milligrams), while people assigned male at birth (AMAB) should get 550 milligrams a day, per the NIH.

Enrich your diet with choline-rich foods, either plant-based sources of choline or animal products.

Foods High in Choline

Food

Serving Size

Choline Amount

Source

Beef liver

3 oz. cooked

356 mg, 65% DV

Animal

Egg

1 large

147 mg, 27% DV

Animal

Top round beef

3 oz. cooked

117 mg, 21% DV

Animal

Soybeans

1/2 cup roasted

107 mg, 19% DV

Plant

Chicken breast

3 oz. cooked

72 mg, 13% DV

Animal

Cod

3 oz. cooked

71 mg, 13% DV

Animal

Red potatoes

1 large

57 mg, 10% DV

Plant

Wheat germ

1 oz. toasted

51 mg, 9% DV

Plant

Kidney beans

1/2 cup canned

45 mg, 8% DV

Plant

Quinoa

1 cup cooked

43 mg, 8% DV

Plant

1% Milk

1 cup

43 mg, 8% DV

Animal

Yogurt

1 cup

38 mg, 7% DV

Animal

Brussels sprouts

1/2 cup cooked

32 mg, 6% DV

Plant

Broccoli

1/2 cup cooked

31 mg, 6% DV

Plant

Shiitake mushrooms

1/2 cup cooked

27 mg, 5% DV

Plant

Cottage cheese

1 cup

26 mg, 5% DV

Animal

Tuna

3 oz. canned

25 mg, 5% DV

Animal

Peanuts

1/4 cup roasted

24 mg, 4% DV

Plant

Cauliflower

1/2 cup cooked

24 mg, 4% DV

Plant

Source: NIH

Animal-Based Foods High in Choline

Animal-derived products are typically better sources of choline than plant foods, according to Nutrition Today. If you're an omnivore, add some of these animal-based sources of choline to your daily diet.

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1. Beef Liver: 356 mg, 65% DV

Although organ meats might not be part of your dinner menu rotation, it's a hot-ticket item to get more choline. Each 3-ounce serving of pan-fried beer liver provides 356 milligrams of choline, which is 65 percent of the daily value (DV) for people AMAB and nearly 84 percent for people AFAB, according to the NIH.

If beef isn't your thing, chicken liver also offers a bounty of choline. Each 3-ounce serving of pan-fried chicken livers provides 246 milligrams of the nutrient, according to the USDA.

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2. Whole Eggs: 147 mg, 27% DV

If you're a big breakfast person, then you're in luck, as there's plenty of choline in eggs. Each large egg serves up 147 milligrams of choline.

Keep in mind, that measurement is specifically for large eggs, so buying medium or small eggs won't give you as much choline.

3. Beef: 117 mg, 21% DV

Given the amount of choline present in beef you can confidently say it's what's for dinner. A 3-ounce portion of top round beef, the best beef source, provides 117 milligrams of choline, which is 21 percent of the DV for people AMAB and 27 percent for people AFAB.

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Ground beef, too, is a good source of choline, as each 3-ounce serving of cooked, 93 percent lean ground beef offers up 72 milligrams of choline.

4. Chicken Breast: 72 mg, 13% DV

Good, ol' chicken breast is a dietary staple thanks to its high protein content and versatility. In terms of choline content, 3 ounces of roasted chicken breast will give you 72 milligrams, or 13 percent of the daily value for people AMAB and nearly 17 percent for people AFAB.

If you prefer dark meat, go for boneless chicken thighs, which contains 58 milligrams of choline, according to the USDA.

5. Atlantic Cod: 71 mg, 13% DV

Atlantic cod provides 71 milligrams of choline in each 3-ounce serving. Like chicken breast, that's around 13 percent of people AMAB's DV and 17 percent for people AFAB. To get some omega-3 fatty acids along with the choline, try Atlantic salmon. A 3-ounce portion has 77 milligrams of choline, according to the USDA.

6. Milk: 43 mg, 8% DV

Although it's not the top animal-based source of choline, there is choline in milk. In fact, each cup of milk provides 43 milligrams of the nutrient. The amount of choline in each serving is about the same between nonfat, 1 percent, 2 percent and whole versions.

7. Yogurt: 38 mg, 7% DV

For breakfast for a snack, low-fat yogurt is a good source of choline, providing 38 milligrams per cup. If you prefer the protein-rich option of Greek yogurt, each cup provides just about the same amount.

8. Cottage Cheese: 26 mg, 5% DV

Continuing down the line of choline in milk-based products, nonfat cottage cheese is next on the list with 26 milligrams of choline per 1-cup serving. Plus, it's a great source of protein, with nearly 15 grams but only 104 calories, according to the USDA. Try it out in one of these protein-rich cottage cheese recipes.

9. Tuna: 25 mg, 5% DV

There's no denying that a can of tuna makes for a quick lunch. And each 3-ounce portion of canned tuna, packed in water, provides 25 milligram

ms of choline. You don't have to stick to tuna salad recipes, though — just make one of these anything-but-salad tuna recipes.

Vegan Foods High in Choline

Soybeans, or edamame, are best eaten boiled and salted.
Image Credit: Fudio/iStock/GettyImages

Even though animal products tend to be higher in the nutrient, there are plenty of plant-based sources of choline to be enjoyed.

1. Soybeans: 107 mg, 19% DV

The best vegan source of choline, roasted soybeans contain 107 milligrams in each 1/2-cup serving, according to the NIH. That's equal to 19 percent of the daily value for people AMAB and 25 percent for people AFAB. If you prefer your soy in tofu form, a 1/2 cup of extra-firm tofu contains 33 milligrams of choline, according to the USDA.

2. Red Potatoes: 57 mg, 10% DV

Next on the list of plant-based sources of choline is red potatoes, which serve up 57 milligrams in each large cooked potato. Russet potatoes have almost as much, coming in with 45 milligrams of choline per large, cooked potato, according to the USDA. Although potatoes are sometimes villainized as the least nutritious of all the vegetables, it's easy to incorporate them into your diet healthfully with these potato recipes.

3. Wheat Germ: 51 mg, 9% DV

Whole grains are tops in nutrition, and that includes wheat germ, which is an excellent source of thiamin and a good source of folate, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, according to the Mayo Clinic. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of toasted wheat germ over hot or cold cereal, and you'll get 51 milligrams of choline in your diet.

4. Kidney Beans: 45 mg, 8% DV

If you're looking for a vegan source of nutrition, you can't go wrong with beans. Canned kidney beans, in particular, have 45 milligrams of choline per 1/2-cup serving. Other beans can add a bit of choline to your diet, too — black beans and garbanzo beans both offer about the same.

5. Quinoa: 43 mg, 8% DV

Let's go back to those whole grains — quinoa is not only an excellent source of complete, plant-based protein, but it also contains 43 milligrams per 1-cup serving cooked. You can eat the grain for any meal of the day with these quinoa recipes.

6. Brussels Sprouts: 32 mg, 6% DV

You either love them or you hate them, but there's no denying that Brussels sprouts are a great vegan source of choline. Each 1/2 cup serving of boiled and chopped Brussels sprouts has 32 milligrams of the nutrient.

7. Broccoli: 31 mg, 6% DV

Broccoli is a powerhouse in terms of nutrition, and each 1/2 cup of cooked, chopped broccoli contains 31 milligrams of choline. If you have leftover cooked broccoli, try out a recipe for Broccoli Hash with Eggs or combine it with cauliflower for Creamy Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup.

8. Shiitake Mushrooms: 27 mg, 5% DV

Mushrooms provide all the umami of meat while being plant-based. Out of all of the varieties, shiitake mushrooms are the highest in choline. A 1/2 cup of cooked shiitake mushroom pieces serves up 27 milligrams of the nutrient.

9. Peanuts: 24 mg, 4% DV

A family favorite — as long as there aren't any allergies — peanuts provide 24 milligrams of choline per 1/4 cup serving. Peanut butter has nearly as much, containing 21 milligrams in every 2 tablespoons, according to the USDA. You don't need to stick to sandwiches, though — try out a peanut butter recipe that doesn't require bread.

10. Cauliflower: 24 mg, 4% DV

Cauliflower joins broccoli as a cruciferous vegetable that provides protein, with 1/2 cup of cooked pieces containing 24 milligrams. Cauliflower makes a good low-carb substitute for potatoes, so check out these cauliflower recipes that crush that comfort food craving.

11. Peas: 24 mg, 4% DV

Last but not least, peas have long been a favorite vegetarian source of protein, but it's a vegetarian source of choline, too. A 1/2 cup of cooked green peas contains 24 milligrams of the nutrient. If you want to eat peas as something other than a plain side dish, try out these green pea recipes.

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