Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Eat Your Choline

Are your pregnant with a baby who has Down syndrome, or nursing a newborn? A recent study performed by Cornell University has shown that more choline given to developing babies with Down syndrome has lasting cognitive and emotional benefits.

Where can you get choline? There is a lot of it in eggs, beef, cauliflower, navy beans, tofu, almonds, peanut butter, and in Nutrivene-D. The recommended daily dose of choline for infants is about 150 mg a day. For pregnant moms it is 450 mg and for lactating moms it is 550 mg.

I am not sure how many eggs or how much beef liver you would have to eat to pass that much choline to your baby through breast milk, so you may want to ask your pediatrician if Nurtivene-D is right for your child.

To get you started eating your choline, here are two recipes:
For baby...
Vegi Puree (32.3 mg total choline)
1 oz. breast milk (4.5 mg choline) or milk (4.0 mg choline)
1oz cooked navy beans, mashed (8.6 mg choline)
1oz cooked cauliflower, mashed (10.9 mg choline)
1oz cooked carrots, mashed (2.5 mg choline)
1oz cooked sweet potato, mashed (3.7 mg choline)
1tbsp melted butter (2.6 mg choline)
Put in all in the food processor or blender and puree it until you reach the consistency your baby likes.

For you... (and baby, lol)
Nigerian Baked Beans whose leftovers become Summer Stew (284 mg total choline)
(from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian (modified by L.L.Barkat)

(ds.mama substituted navy beans for Great Northern beans and shortened the cooking time.)
Stir briefly over low heat..
1 onion, chopped and already sauteed until light brown (5.7 mg choline)
4 cloves garlic, minced (2.8 mg choline)
1 TB curry powder
Add onion and garlic mixture to...
1 1/2 cups dried Navy Beans, already soaked and cooked until tender (retain cooking water) (144 mg choline)
2 tomatoes, chopped (16.4 mg choline)
1 1/2 TB peanut butter (15 mg choline)
salt and pepper to taste
Bake all together about 45 minutes or until tender and sauce is thickened.

For Stew the Following Evening... ( adds about 100 mg choline)
• cut 4-5 potatoes (22 mg choline per potato) into 1/2 to 3/4 inch chunks, add to beans with enough water to cover, and cook 15 minutes or until tender
• garnish with one onion sliced very thin, browned until crisp
• add a generous scoop of herbed butter (5.2 mg choline) and stir until melted

Picture credit: L.L. Barkat.


  1. This is great info. I also enjoyed learning you were giving Nurtivene-D to your baby. I'm planning to put Ella on it over the summer. I ordered their packet info and a sample packet. I'll start her next week. I've talked to a couple of people about it and everyone shares positive things, including our Doctor.

    Would you mind dropping me a line letting me know if you're still supplementing with it and how she's doing? Facebook would be good.


    Much love -
    Jasmine and Ella

  2. I agree that nutrition helps to developing babies with Down syndrome to have lasting cognitive and emotional benefits. I was eating a very nutritional diet when since I knew I was pregnant. When I knew about my prenatally diagnosed for Down syndrome, I stopped eating processed food as much I could and I cooked all my meals with all 5 food groups. I hope there are more research about nutrition for expectant mom with a unborn baby with a genetic disorder.In fact, my son has a good health without the major complications of the syndrome, his hypotonia is mild and his developmental age is according to his birth age right now. I do believe nutrition plays an important role in the development of a fetus with Down syndrome. Eat healthy is good for the brain and the body.


Please share your experience and opinions, or ask a question. I won't even mind if you correct me on something.

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