The now debunked diet-heart hypothesis set forth by Ancel Keys made the American populace fat phobic, and started a very bad habit—tossing out the egg yolks and only eating the egg whites. While the egg white may contain the bulk of the egg’s protein, the egg yolk contains the majority of the other vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, such as choline. And we now know, we don’t need to be worried about eating fat or cholesterol, so it’s time to add the yolk back in to your diet!
Be Choline Conscious
The liver makes a very small amount of choline, but not nearly as much as the body needs. For this reason, the Institute of Medicine declared choline an essential nutrient in 1998, which means we must get our choline from the foods we eat in order to keep the body functioning optimally. Americans aren’t very choline conscious, with an alarming 90% of the population choline deficient!
Why We Need Choline
- make phospholipids (fat molecules in the body) such as lecithin, which builds cell membranes.
- carry cholesterol from your liver so that fat and cholesterol don’t accumulate
- support cell communication
- synthesize DNA
- form cholinergic neurons that shape the brain and nervous system
- produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is linked to memory, heart health, and muscle function
Studies show that people who eat a lot of choline have the lowest inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein, that instigate all manner of disease. A 2011 study published in ARYA Atherosclerosis showed that choline-rich diets are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. In 2008, FASEB Journal reported that a diet high in choline decreased breast cancer risk by 24%.
Other studies have shown that just one month of choline deficiency can increase your risk of cancer and DNA damage significantly, as well as lead to metabolic syndrome, which manifests as insulin resistance, dangerously high cholesterol, and obesity.
Eat Your Choline
Egg yolks are a terrific source of choline. One hard-boiled egg has approximately 115 milligrams of choline, which accounts for 25% of the recommended daily value. You can also source your choline from wild-caught salmon, grass-fed beef liver, peanuts, or krill.