Researchers have known for some time that the biochemical choline is critical for the proper neurological development of newborns. This compound is the basic building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Now scientists have evidence that choline intake over the lifespan may affect cognitive function in later years. Investigators collected dietary information on roughly 1,400 middle aged adults. Over the next decade the study participants were given tests of memory and cognitive ability. Some also underwent MRI scans of their brains. Those with higher choline intake scored better on mental function tests. Foods that are high in choline include eggs, liver, milk, oily fish, chicken and soybeans.
[American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online Nov. 9, 2011]