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Choline could help keep your brain sharp

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Getting enough choline, a nutrient related to the B vitamins, may be important to keeping your brain sharp as you age.

Researchers at Tufts and other Boston-area universities analyzed data on nearly 1,400 participants, ages 36 to 83, in the long-running Framingham study. Participants completed dietary questionnaires and then took memory and cognitive tests and underwent MRI scans.

Those with high dietary choline intake did better on the tests and were less likely to show areas of “white-matter hypersensitivity” in the brain, possible signs of blood-vessel damage linked to dementia.

Scientists cautioned that the testing differences were small – not enough to notice in day-to-day activities – and that the results don’t prove that choline protects the brain. But people with lower choline intake were more likely to be on a “pathway” toward cognitive decline than those with more dietary choline.

Food sources of choline include egg yolks, chicken, milk, fish, peanut butter, potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes, banana, oranges, some legumes, whole grains, sesame and flax seeds, along with the food additive lecithin. – American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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