In the past several years, the use of sunflower lecithin is becoming more and more popular.
People, and science, are discovering the potential health benefits and uses of lecithin on a daily basis 1.
And because of that, the demand is rocketing.
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What is sunflower lecithin?
The term sunflower lecithin is a term used for every fatty substance that can be extracted from sunflowers.
Lecithin can be sourced from other places, not just from sunflowers.
But the sunflower seeds are among the most popular sources.
The lecithin from sunflower seeds is a “collection of different phospholipids”.
And while people usually think of fats as a bad thing, phospholipids are very important for our health 2.
A type of lecithin is present in every single cell of our body 3.
The lecithin helps protect the integrity of our cell membranes.
The lecithin from sunflower seeds is a natural emulsifier, which means it can reduce the presence of other fats, and protect our red blood cells.
Benefits of sunflower lecithin
As mentioned, one of the reasons the popularity of lecithin is rising is because of the many health benefits.
We are discovering new uses constantly, but for now, these are some of the most popular uses and benefits of sunflower lecithin 4.
We mentioned that the lecithin acts as an emulsifier 5.
That means the lecithin can balance the fat levels in your bloodstream.
The result is healthy heart, and boosted health of the heart.
Consuming lecithin can also lower the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, and other heart and cardiovascular diseases.
The phospholipids present in the lecithin are responsible for our brain health and the repair processes by the neural cells 6.
Continued consumption and supplementation can speed the process of neural regeneration, which will improve the protection of the nervous system.
That, in turn will lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Works as an antioxidant
With all the benefits for our heart and brain health, we forget that lecithin is actually an antioxidant.
That means it can counteract the effect of aging on the cells.
Lecithin is very effective in relieving oxidative stress and preventing cell damage.
When our liver is tasked with processing large amount of excess fat, it can put a toll on the body.
The result is health problems like liver disease and diabetes.
Being that sunflower lecithin can balance the amount of fat in our body, the chances of excess fat are reduced.
That means that lecithin protects our heart, brain, and liver from damage.
Speeds up the healing process
An important compound in the lecithin is the linoleic acid.
This acid is useful for the wound healing process.
You can even apply the lecithin topically on open wounds to speed up the process of healing.
When there is excess fat in the bloodstream, the arteries can thicken.
That is the protective mechanism of our body so that the fat deposits on the walls.
But when the arteries tighten, the blood pressure increases, and puts even more strain on your cardiovascular system.
As mentioned previously, lecithin can balance fats in our body, lowering the risk of high blood pressure.
Boost the immune system
The same phospholipids that can speed up the healing process, also improve our immune system 7.
And with lecithin acting as an antioxidant, our immune system gets a boost it needs.
One of the underrated benefits of the lecithin is lubrication of joints.
This results in reduced inflammation in the body.
You will feel younger and remain active even at older age.
Balance the hormones
When people use other forms of lecithin, particularly soy lecithin, the estrogen levels go through the roof.
That is why supplementation with sunflower lecithin is better, as you keep your hormones in balance.
One of the popular uses of sunflower lecithin is to treat plugged ducts. Breastfeeding mothers can easily get rid of the blockage by consuming supplements 8.
Health experts recommend capsules of 1200mg three to four times per day for plugged ducts 9.
How to use sunflower lecithin
Sunflower lecithin is found as a dietary supplement ingredient in protein powders.
Deficiency in lecithin can result in negative effects on our health.
You can also find the lecithin in some cosmetic products for topical application.
Being that lecithin is mostly found as a dietary supplement, the best and most common way to consume is to add it to your health shakes and smoothies.
You can also use it as a butter replacement or other oils in cooking.
Lecithin will add smooth and creamy texture to your recipes.
Difference between sunflower and soy lecithin
Soy lecithin is another popular form of lecithin.
But in the past several years, people are understanding the difference.
We are not here to judge or favor any lecithin over another, but there are differences that are worth mentioning.
- Sunflower lecithin is 100% raw and pure
- Sunflower lecithin is extracted from sunflower seeds in a mechanical and chemical-free process, while soy lecithin requires chemicals to extract it from soybeans
- Soy lecithin is extracted from soybean oil, an ingredient that is usually genetically modified
- Soy allergies are more common than sunflower seeds allergies
- Consumption of soy can increase estrogen levels and cause an imbalance of hormones in your body. Soy phytoestrogens can disrupt the endocrine function and cause infertility
- Sunflower lecithin is produced through a system that is cold press, such as the one used to derive olive oil
- Sunflower lecithin has a higher content of choline and other fatty acids that boost our overall health
Is sunflower lecithin-an allergen?
There are many questions regarding the safety and security of using sunflower lecithin.
One of the main questions is whether the lecithin is an allergen.
Whether the lecithin is an allergen depends on the source from where it was extracted.
Lecithin may contain remnant of protein from the food it is extracted from.
If you are allergic to soy, rape, egg, or sunflower, you will be allergic to the lecithin as well.
But if you are not allergic to sunflower seeds, you won’t be sensitive to the lecithin.
Does it contain gluten?
One of the differences between sunflower and soy lecithin is the former is 100%.
That is why it is useful in maintaining normal cholesterol levels.
As such, sunflower lecithin does not contain gluten.
It contains high level of choline, which is responsible for breaking up cholesterol in the body.
What is the purpose of lecithin?
Here are some of the functions of lecithin in our body.
What you need to know is that lecithin is found in abundance in all the cells of our bodies.
- Keeps the cell membranes permeable enough to allow passage of air, water, and nutrients
- Make up a large percentage of the nervous system. In mammals, one third of the total brain matter is lecithin
- Forms the protective sheath of fatty substances that envelops the brain
- Makes sure there is equal distribution of weight in the body
How is sunflower lecithin produced?
We mentioned that unlike soy lecithin, the sunflower one is produced naturally.
The lecithin is obtained by dehydrating a sunflower seed.
But instead of processing with a chemical solvent, the seeds are processed by the “cold press process”.
The seeds are not pre-cooked, which allows them to retain all the flavor and nutritional value.
Cold pressing is a gentle and wholesome extraction process in which the oils are obtained through pressing seeds.
Is Sunflower lecithin Safe?
Studies have yet to uncover any side effects from taking sunflower lecithin supplements in the recommended dose.
Therefore, the lecithin is considered safe, as long as you are following the guidelines.
However, it is worth mentioning that some people have experienced side effects like diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, sweating, and upset stomach after taking the supplement.