Your memory might be sharper if your diet contains lots of choline – a micronutrient found in some fatty foods, including egg yolks. A new study from Boston University School of Medicine suggests that adults whose choline intake was highest did better on memory tests than those whose intake was lowest; they were also less likely to have brain changes linked to dementia.
The investigators reviewed data from 1,400 adults ages 36 to 83 who answered questions about their diets between 1991 and 1995. Later, between 1998 and 2001, the participants underwent MRI brain scans and tests of memory and other cognitive abilities. The differences seen between those with high and low choline consumption were small, but the study’s lead author said the data suggested that participants with lower choline intakes were more likely to be on a “pathway” to mental decline than those with higher intakes.
Another clue: choline is a precursor for acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in memory and other cognitive functions; low acetylcholine levels are associated with Alzheimer’s. In addition to egg yolks, food sources of choline include beef liver, wheat germ, beef, soy foods, Brussels sprouts, cod, salmon, broccoli, peanut butter and milk chocolate.