The 30 Best Vegan Food Sources of Choline

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Choline is an essential nutrient that vegans can have trouble getting.

The absolute best sources of choline are animal products (meat, fish, dairy, etc.).

To help fellow vegans out, I compiled a list of the best vegan food sources of choline.

Keep in mind that if you buy any packaged foods like cereal, they may be fortified with choline as well.

Before we get to the list, how much choline do you need a day?

According to the NIH, adult men need 550 mg per day, while adult women, need at least 425 mg.

The Best Vegan Food Sources of Choline

You’ll notice that no one serving of any food will get you past the RDA. You’re going to have to combine multiple foods on a regular basis.

Food Serving Energy (kcal) Choline (mg)
Buckwheat groats 1 cup 567 88.9
Swiss chard 10 leafs 91 86.4
Navy beans 1 cup 255 81.4
Lima beans 1 cup 209 75
Chickpeas 1 cup 269 70.2
Spinach 1 bunch 78 65.6
Lentils 1 cup 230 64.7
Brussels sprouts 1 cup 56 63.3
Mung bean 1 cup 212 59.4
Black beans 1 cup 227 56.1
Cowpeas 1 cup 160 54.3
Kidney beans 1 cup 225 54
Fava bean 1 cup 187 52
Rye grain 1 cup 571 51.4
Cassava 0.5 root 326 48.3
Cauliflower 1 cup 27 47.4
Quinoa 1 cup 222 42.5
Cashew 0.5 cup 393 41.8
Peas 1 cup 117 41.2
White potato 1 large 255 40.6
Sunflower seeds 0.5 cup 409 38.6
Peanuts 0.5 cup 414 38.3
Melon 0.5 melon 180 38
Eggplant 1 eggplant 137 37.8
Pine nuts 0.5 cup 454 37.7
Plantain 1 plantain 329 36.5
Corn 1 ear 123 32.9
Wheat flour (whole-grain) 100 g 332 31.2
Hazelnut 0.5 cup 424 30.8
Zucchini 1 large 55 30.7
Almonds 1/2 cup 313 28.1

Overall, legumes are amazing sources of choline. Just about every type of bean and lentil is near the top of the list.

There’s also quite a few vegetables like spinach, chard, and brussel sprouts.

Specific types of grain (buckwheat and rye) also have a large amount of choline.

The Most Choline-Rich Vegan Foods per 100 Calories

If you’d like to keep your total caloric intake down, this next list will be more interesting than the one above.

I calculated the amount of choline that you’d get in 100 calories of any of the foods. Often times, this requires more than one serving.

Food Serving Energy (kcal)
Choline (mg) per 100 calories
Cauliflower 1 cup 27 175.6
Asparagus 4 spears 13 120.8
Brussels sprouts 1 cup 56 113.0
Swiss chard 10 leafs 91 94.9
Lettuce (red leaf) 0.5 head 20 91.0
Spinach 1 bunch 78 84.1
Rapini 5 stalks 21 82.9
Watercress 10 sprigs 3 73.3
Zucchini 1 large 55 55.8
Broccoli 1 cup 31 54.8
Bok choy 1 cup 9 50.0
Green bean 10 beans 17 49.4
Celery 1 stalk 9 43.3
Cabbage 1 cup 22 43.2
Squash 1 large 52 41.5
Radish 2 large 3 40.0
Cucumber 0.5 cucumber 23 39.1
Okra 8 pods 31 37.7
Tomato 1 large 33 37.0
Lima beans 1 cup 209 35.9
Peas 1 cup 117 35.2
Cowpeas 1 cup 160 33.9
Navy beans 1 cup 255 31.9
Ginger 1 tsp 2 30.0
Lentils 1 cup 230 28.1
Mung bean 1 cup 212 28.0
Fava bean 1 cup 187 27.8
Eggplant 1 eggplant 137 27.6
Green bell pepper 1 large 33 27.3
Corn 1 ear 123 26.7

Just about every result on the list is some sort of vegetable.

If you eat a large and diverse set of vegetables every day, you shouldn’t have too much of an issue meeting your RDA with a low amount of total calories. But you will have to eat a lot of them, and that may take some time to get used to.

The Best OVERALL Choline Sources for Vegans

There’s one last way we can look at choline sources, by comparing the amount of choline per serving and per 100 calories at the same time.

Below is a bubble chart that does this. The best sources should rank well on both axis, meaning the very best ones will be close to the top-right of the chart.

Click the chart to see the full-sized version.

best choline sources overall bubble chartNone hit that top-right corner.

In terms of overall balance, brussel sprouts and spinach come the closest and are the best “overall” sources of choline.

Other than that, we see the other foods that topped the 2 main lists we looked at above:

  • Cauliflower
  • Swiss chard
  • Lima beans
  • Navy beans

Stick to these if you’re trying to get the most choline possible, with the least amount of servings and calories.

What is Choline Used For?

While choline technically can be made in the body, it can only be made in very small amounts. The majority of your choline must come from foods.

A significant deficit in choline can lead to liver and muscle damage, and an increase of an amino acid called homocysteine. Homocysteine is associated with heart disease, heart attacks, and more.

In short, it’s pretty important that you get enough choline from your diet on a regular basis.

About the author

Dale C.

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance writer. Trying to do my small part in making the world better by writing about the wonderful world of veganism.

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