Vegan/Plant-based – Omega 3 and Phospholipids - Food for the Brain

Vegan/Plant-based – Omega 3 and Phospholipids

As you are vegan, it is close to impossible to get sufficient phospholipids and omega-3 DHA from your food alone. As a consequence you’re going to need to supplement a plant-based source of both.

Regarding DHA, please read the Reports: Veganism, DHA and Brain Health and Phospholipids –A Challenge on a Vegan Diet in your Library

But what intake of choline can you achieve from a vegan diet alone? Here’s a list of the best plant-based food for choline listed in the order of how much you could get in a reasonable serving*:


Food Choline per serving Per 100g
Soya milk (1 cup/250ml/9fl oz) 57mg 23mg
Shiitake mushrooms (1 cup/145g/5oz) 54mg 37mg
Soya flour (12.5g/1/4oz) 24mg 192mg
Peas (1 cup/160g/53/4oz) 47mg 30mg
Quinoa, raw (1/3 cup/60g/21/8oz) 42mg 70mg
Beans, raw (1/3 cup/60g/21/8oz) black,
white, pinto, kidney
40mg 67mg
Broccoli, cauliflower or
sprouts (1 cup/90g/31/4oz)
36mg 40mg
Tofu (1/2 cup/125g/41/2oz) 35mg 28mg
Hummus (1/2 cup/120g/41/4oz) 34mg 28mg
Chickpeas (1/4 can) 33mg 33mg
Baked beans (1/4 can) 31mg 31mg
Flaxseeds (small handful) 22mg 78mg
Pistachio (small handful) 20mg 71mg
Pine nuts (small handful) 18mg 65mg
Cashews (small handful) 17mg 61mg
Wholegrain bread (2 slices/50g/13/4oz) 17mg 34mg
Avocado (1/2) 14mg 28mg
Almonds (small handful/50g/13/4oz) 12mg 42mg
Peanuts (small handful) 12mg 42mg
Wheatgerm (tbsp 7g/1/8oz) 12mg 178mg
Almonds or peanut butter (tbsp) 10mg 61mg

Source: USDA choline content database and* Many foods have not been analysed for choline, and measurements do vary, so this is a guide rather than a definitive list.

What does this mean for your daily diet?

Here are some vegan foods that you could include in your meals to maximise choline intake, and how much each food would give you (we’re not including all foods that you would eat at these meals, just those ingredients that deliver a significant amount of choline):

Food Choline
A cup of soya milk (250ml/9fl oz) 57mg
Small handful of nuts or seeds
(Flax, chia, almonds, etc.)
A cup of cooked quinoa (1/3 cup/55g/2oz raw) 43mg
A serving (100g/31/2oz) of either broccoli, 36mg
cauliflower or Brussels sprouts
1/2 avocado 14mg
A tbsp of almond or peanut butter 10mg
Hummus (1/2 cup/120g/41/4oz) 34mg
2 slices of wholegrain bread 17mg
A serving of tofu (125g/41/2oz) or beans 35–40mg
Shiitake mushrooms (1/2 cup/35g/11/4oz) 27mg
A serving (100/31/2oz) of either broccoli,
cauliflower or Brussels sprouts
TOTAL 332mg

In reality, you are unlikely to achieve the 332mg total listed in the table above every day, and it would be quite limiting on your food choices, so a realistic target would be to achieve 300mg of choline from food. If you are aiming to achieve 500mg, which is the low end of optimal – more than this might be optimal in pregnancy – that leaves a shortfall of around 200mg of choline, suggesting the need for supplementation.

The report explains what your options are between food and supplementation.