Supplement Breakdown Series: Lecithin
Everyday I gather around the blender to put together my super smoothie. Often I catch myself reading the ingredients label going over what benefit each of them has for health. As I was going through my shake routine I thought to myself..."I'm sure my fellow Sweat Nation readers want to know what some of the benefits are."
Let me tell you what I use as my base. I use Raw Meal vegan protein & Greens+ advanced multi-vitamin. I'm partial to the vanilla chai flavor, but they have several other flavors for your taste buds to enjoy.
For the greens+ the very first ingredient is lecithin. In parenthesis it had the word sunflower. Lecithin. Lecithin is a generic term to designate any group of yellow-brownish fatty substances occurring in animal and plant tissues. In most foods soy lecithin is an additive. Lecithin is a vital component to each and every cell in our bodies. It helps prevent the cell membranes from becoming hard and allows them to remain healthy and healthy cells mean a healthy body.
Difference between Soy & Sunflower Lecithin.
One of the main advantages is the extraction process; sunflower lecithin gets extracted without the need for potentially damaging chemical solvents such as acetone and hexane.
Sunflower lecithin is also processed through a cold press system like the one used to derive olive oil and similar products.
It is the only lecithin which is obtainable both chemical-free and raw.
Sunflower lecithin is rich in choline and other essential fatty acids such as phosphatidylinositol.
Soy lecithin is derived by using dangerous chemicals like hexane.
Some people may develop soy allergies.
Soy is often genetically engineered.
There are concerns of elevated estrogen levels by consuming soy and soy lecithin
In short the type of Lecithin you are consuming matters. Soy lecithin is in just about all processed foods. Now you know to keep an eye out for it. Sunflower lecithin in contrast is not as easy to find. You have to know to look for it.
9 Benefits of Sunflower Lecithin
1. HEART HEALTH AND CHOLESTEROL
Lecithin is great for your heart. It can help both prevent and reverse damage from coronary disease. Lecithin is essentially a fat emulsifier which the body can use to rid the excess fats from your bloodstream. These excess fats include cholesterol and triglycerides meaning that it will help you to reduce and control your cholesterol levels. This task is accomplished largely because of the linoleic acid contained in high concentrations in sunflower lecithin. Only olive oil can boast similar levels of linoleic acid while soy lecithin has very little of it. Sunflower lecithin supplementation improves blood circulation which can help prevent blood clots and other complaints. Here at Sweat Nation we like a strong heart. Make sure you are getting in the lecithin that counts.
2. BRAIN HEALTH
Sunflower lecithin can do wonders for your neurological and cognitive health. Because it is full of essential healthy fats with incredibly long chemical names like...
Phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylethanolamine. Just reading these words made our IQ go up at least 3 points. These fats are all important ingredients which are utilized by the body to repair, strengthen and produce brain cells and nerve cells. There are promising reports that sunflower lecithin can improve cognitive functions like study, focus and memory.
Good memory and recall ability is an important sign of a strong brain. It is also possible that sunflower lecithin can help with a variety of degenerative brain conditions like dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
3. LIVER HEALTH
The fats mentioned above also play an important role when it comes to the health of your liver. The liver is prone to becoming overburdened with excessive fats, these fats or lipids can then accumulate within the liver instead of being excreted from the body via the bowels as they should be.
This is a condition called (nonalcoholic) fatty liver disease which is an increasingly common complaint that in turn leads to more serious conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cirrhosis and possibly liver cancer. Because of its phospholipid content, sunflower lecithin can help prevent this excessive build-up of fats and keep the liver in good working condition. How awesome is that!!!
4. ANTIOXIDANT ABILITY
I'm sure that the majority of us are aware by now of the importance of antioxidants to our health. Sunflower lecithin can provide you with one of the most powerful of those antioxidants in the form of phosphatidylcholine. You see how here at Sweat Nation we learn words and then try to use them to increase our vocabulary.
Getting enough antioxidants into your diet is vital to prevent cellular damage caused by oxidative stress. Cellular damage can lead to a host of illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and can also cause you to age prematurely both internally and externally.
5. BLOOD PRESSURE
As we have already mentioned, the linoleic acid contained in sunflower lecithin works by breaking down excess fats that accumulate in the body including cholesterol and triglycerides. When cholesterol and triglyceride levels are elevated too much, they can accumulate on the arterial walls causing a condition known as arteriosclerosis. This is basically Like when you put your finger over a hose to make it come out with more pressure. The issue is that you can end up covering the opening completely which is like a thickening of the arteries which is likely to lead to higher blood pressure and heart attack or stroke.
6. NERVOUS SYSTEM
Sunflower lecithin can help the nervous system to function more efficiently because of its abundant fatty acids. These fatty acids boost the strength of nerve tissue and actually improve neurotransmitter activity.
Your nerve fibers consist of a complex network of sheaths which allow nerve impulses to effectively travel from one place to another. Unfortunately, the nerve system can be disrupted but sunflower lecithin can help keep these nerve functions healthy.
7. WOUND HEALING
Because of its linoleic acid and other important fatty acids, it is possible for sunflower lecithin to speed up the release of cytokines or inflammatory transmitters to wounded areas of the body. Sweat Nation Tip: You can actually apply sunflower lecithin directly to any minor wounds for immediate effect.
If you suffer from arthritis or any other form of joint pain, supplementation with sunflower lecithin can have a positive impact. Lecithin actually helps lubricate your joints. We all know how important lubrication can be, right?
A deficiency in lecithin can actually cause your joints to stiffen up and cause rheumatism. Sunflower lecithin supplementation can help prevent joint disease and also ease the symptoms of any pre-existing conditions.
9. FREE OF ESTROGEN
It is worth noting that unlike soy lecithin, sunflower lecithin is free of the phytoestrogens contained in soy lecithin. Phytoestrogens can cause both sexes to produce excess estrogen leading to numerous metabolic issues such as early menopause, breast growth, sexual dysfunction and weight gain. It can also cause autoimmune disorder to the adrenal glands and thyroid. Team Sunflower over Soy.
Hope you enjoyed this trip through my supplement drawer. Bringing attention to what you're sticking in your body will pay great dividend in the quality of your life.
If you've got any thoughts you'd like for us to expand on please, don't hesitate.
Till Next time get out there and be #physicallyinfinite
*Products Mentioned were Greens+ & Raw Meal Protein. Sunflower Lecithin link is added. Sweat Nation does make a small % when you click through here. Won't cost you any extra. If you value Sweat Nation Content we would be grateful if you clicked & bought through our links.