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ABC of Nutrition - C

Tired, grumpy, and the wind howls so loud it sounds like a banshee today. Oh well. Walked two km to get a coffee, and walked back. And did an hour DDP yoga. My purple fur is more like a washed out green-teal, and no fresh purple color here. Shop did not have any either. So I decided to curl up on my divan and spread the holy words of

C is for choline:

It is a water soluble nutrient, and totally hipster, because it is essential and nobody has ever told you about it. This has to change, because only around 2% of post-menopausal women actually achieve their daily recommended intake!
So what is is, what does it do, why is it important, and where the hell can you get some?
Its chemical name is 2-Hydroxy-N,N,N-trimethylethanamonium, but this is too long and scary, to lets keep it personal and intimate, and say choline. Or, if you really, really stretch it a bit, call it lecithin. Lecithin, usually derived from soy or egg yolk, is a yellowish mix made out of choline, fatty acids, fats, phosphoric acids and glycerol. No worries, all these things are totally important and totally not scary. They just like to hang out together, because they all have kind of the same job: They make our cell membranes. Our cell membranes are double layers of phospholipids, the lipids inside, the phosphor-groups outside. This gives them the ability to move, stretch, do all the things a cell membrane does, to separate inside from outside and so on. The name of choline here is Phosphocholine and sphingomyelin. Without choline, there is not enough membranes to make new cells. Worse, choline is also necessary to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is the signal that makes our muscles move, and our brain to work. It is also needed to turn off stress hormones, so the more stress we have, the more we need.

If you lack choline, you get fatty liver disease and hemorrhagic kidney failure...because these organs are unable to repair themselves the way they need to. The liver is repairing itself all the time, because it not only makes toxic stuff not toxic, but sometimes makes not toxic stuff toxic, and get damaged. Other things that happen include neurological disorders (kind of logical, with that neurotransmitter thing), but it is also somehow involved in atherosclerosis. We also need it when we make babies, because babies are made out of cells, too. We also need it to make milk, and give the babies the choline they need.


Discussed: Some say it is antiinflammatory, and reduces breast cancer. Other say that it is needed to prevent neural defects in babies, but at the same time, increases the risk for pre-eclampsia, which is bad too. Some think taking it increases colon cancer in women, but other studies haven't seen that.

Now where can we get some? Other than the radioactive labeled choline for PET-scans, I advise you to get it from food instead of supplements. Because the body has ways to decide what it needs and what not from food, but taking supplements is kind of like force-feeding the vitamins and nutrients. So unless you really need it (doctor's orders), eat it. Best sources are actually liver (yuck or yum, you decide), cauliflower, broccoli, and eggs, aside from soy lecithin granules or sunflower lecithin syrup.

C is for: Chayote / Choko

Not the prettiest of veggies, but I really like this one. You can use it like you would use a summer squash, and in my opinion it tastes like a mild version of a zucchini/courgette. It is native to Mexico, and I have never seen it in Germany. I found it in NZ and had to try it, and fell in love with it. Apparently, the root, stem and leaves are all edible too, and leaves and shoots make a mean stir fry. The fruit is rich in ascorbate and amino acids (lego blocks of proteins). You can use it raw for salsas and marinate it with lemon juice, and if you cook it, you don't need to peel it. The root is similar to yams. The fruit is diuretic , anti-inflammatory, and if you have kidney stones, you can make a tea from the leaves which will help you get rid of them. How awesome is that? It can even lower high blood pressure. So if you never tried it, go and get some. Since even the seed is edible, you cannot make any real mistakes.


Tomorrow: D.

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