Olivia Jakiel
Updated Aug 31, 2016 @ 2:01 pm
Credit: Bruce Gifford / Getty Images

Eating a balanced diet and exercising are staples to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, however, sometimes even that doesn’t get you all of the nutrients you need.

According to a study using national food intake of over 16,000 Americans, almost 94% of women don’t get enough of the essential nutrient choline, which is actually just as (if not more) important than vitamin C and calcium.

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So what exactly is choline? Choline is a nutrient that is similar to B-vitamins and can be made in the liver. It’s also found in foods like muscle meats, fish, nuts, beans, peas, spinach, wheat germ, and eggs. The reason it’s so important is that it can actually help prevent many illnesses, such as cancer and liver diseases.

One of the most important reasons women of childbearing age should be consuming choline is because it helps support normal brain development in infants and babies. It even might help reduce the risk of breast cancer!

However, low levels of the nutrient can cause muscle damage, heart problems, and mood issues, so even if you’re not ready to pop a bun in oven, you should definitely try to consume the recommended 550mg of choline a day.

BRB, going to down some spinach and eggs!