6 Amazing Health Benefits of Sunflower Lecithin
Lecithin is a fatty substance naturally found in many plant and animal products. It’s often used to emulsify and stabilize processed foods, pharmaceuticals, and beauty products.
Sunflower lecithin is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to egg and soy lecithin because it’s allergen-free, GMO-free, and has significant benefits for your health.
Find out how you can incorporate sunflower lecithin into your keto lifestyle!
What is sunflower lecithin?
Lecithin is a type of phospholipid found in many animal and plant tissues. Beef, egg yolk, organ meats, and sunflower seeds are rich sources of lecithin.
Because of its chemical structure, lecithin is a natural emulsifier that helps bind substances that normally don’t mix easily, such as oil and water.
Sunflower lecithin is derived from sunflower seed oil using a cold press extraction process that separates phospholipids, including lecithin, from the seed oil. The extracted lecithin is then dried and milled into a fine powder.
Sunflower lecithin powder is a pure and natural lecithin commonly used by the food industry to maintain the texture and consistency of processed food products and to extend the shelf life of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
It's a healthy alternative to soy lecithin, typically derived from genetically modified crops. Non-GMO lecithin avoids genetically modified soy's potential adverse health implications, including digestive issues, chronic inflammation, and fertility issues.
Watch the video below to discover how sunflower lecithin benefits your health and well-being.
Is sunflower lecithin keto?
Sunflower lecithin is low-carb and suitable for keto. One tablespoon contains less than one gram of carbohydrates, making sunflower lecithin a keto-approved ingredient.
It’s important to note that lecithin is a stabilizer found in many processed food products, which often are high in sugar, carbs, and other synthetic sweeteners.
While lecithin is keto-friendly, a product containing lecithin may not be safe on keto. It’s important to read labels and avoid products high in carbs.
Health benefits of sunflower lecithin
Lecithin plays an essential role in human health and is a structural component of all cell membranes. It’s involved in many physiological functions, including bile flow, the metabolism and transport of fats, and the production of neurotransmitters.
Here are six health benefits of sunflower lecithin.
1. Supports brain function
Sunflower lecithin benefits brain health and cognitive function. It’s a rich source of choline, an essential nutrient needed to produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which regulates memory, mood, and nerve impulses.
Lack of choline negatively impacts the central nervous system, explaining why lecithin appears neuroprotective and supports cognitive function.
There is some evidence that lecithin may benefit individuals with neurodegenerative diseases. This study found that lecithin supplementation improved the cognition and emotional state of dementia patients.
2. Improves digestive health
Consuming lecithin-rich foods may support your digestive health and can improve fat digestion.
Lecithin is needed to produce and release bile which aids the digestion and absorption of fats. Healthy bile production lowers the risk of gallstones, supports the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and promotes a diverse intestinal microflora.
This study found that lecithin improves symptoms of ulcerative colitis and is linked to reduced inflammation of the intestines. Because of its chemical structure, lecithin creates a protective barrier within the intestinal tract, stopping harmful bacteria and other toxins from entering intestinal cells, which can trigger inflammation and immune reactions.
3. Supports liver health
Lecithin's role in fat metabolism and transport may benefit liver health.
Lecithin and choline are necessary to transport lipids and fatty acids away from the liver to other cells and tissues for storage or utilization. This helps to clear the liver of fats and may be beneficial in preventing fatty liver disease.
In addition, lecithin may also play a role in the production of liver proteins that downregulate inflammation and protect from liver dysfunction. However, more studies are needed to fully understand lecithin's role in liver health.
4. Promotes heart health
Sunflower lecithin may benefit heart health and lower the risk of heart disease.
Lecithin contains phosphatidylcholine, a type of phospholipid that promotes the activity of several enzymes regulating cholesterol production. This supports lowering levels of harmful LDL cholesterol linked to heart disease and, at the same time, increases beneficial and heart-protective HDL cholesterol.
A recent study found that the choline in lecithin may reduce the risk of ischemic stroke. This may be due to its anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce inflammation in the lining of blood vessels, linked to a lower risk of arterial plaque formation and stroke.
5. Supports restful sleep
Sunflower lecithin supports the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which plays an essential role in sleep cycle regulation and appears to be most active during phases of deep sleep.
In addition, there is some evidence that lecithin may promote balanced melatonin. This pituitary hormone induces sleepiness and supports healthy sleeping patterns.
6. Promotes skin health
Lecithin is a natural emulsifying agent that you will find in many skin care products, and for a good reason.
Sunflower lecithin has a moisturizing effect on the skin and is thought to have antioxidant properties that help to protect the skin from sun damage and free radicals.
Lecithin is a phospholipid that plays an important role in cellular health, supports brain function and cardiovascular health, and may reduce the risk of liver dysfunction.
Sunflower lecithin is becoming an increasingly popular keto-friendly alternative to soy lecithin, which often is derived from GMO crops and exposed to harsh chemicals during its extraction process.
While dietary intake of lecithin appears more beneficial to support a healthy body, dietary supplements such as sunflower lecithin powder, capsules, or granules are convenient and readily available.
1. What is sunflower lecithin?
Sunflower lecithin is a health-promoting phospholipid derived from sunflower seed oil. It's a natural emulsifier and stabilizer often used in the food industry to extend the shelf life of processed foods and is added to many cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.
2. Can I have sunflower lecithin on keto?
Yes, sunflower lecithin is very low in carbs and an excellent keto-approved ingredient.
3. Is sunflower lecithin healthy?
Sunflower lecithin has several potential health benefits, including supporting brain health, regulating blood pressure, reducing intestinal inflammation, and may protect from strokes, heart disease, and liver dysfunction.
4. How much lecithin can I have each day?
There is no specific recommended daily intake of lecithin. Most people can safely consume lecithin-containing foods or supplements without experiencing adverse reactions.
If you are considering taking lecithin supplements, choose sunflower lecithin whenever possible. In contrast to soy lecithin, sunflower lecithin is non-GMO and derived from a cold press extraction process that doesn't require harsh and potentially harmful chemicals.
5. Does sunflower lecithin have side effects?
Sunflower lecithin is generally recognized as allergen-free and is typically well tolerated. Some individuals sensitive to sunflower lecithin can experience gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating.
6. Does sunflower lecithin affect hormones?
There is some evidence that lecithin supports balanced levels of melatonin, a pituitary hormone that promotes sleepiness and regulates sleep cycles.
It’s important to note that soy lecithin contains phytoestrogens with potent estrogenic properties. Soy lecithin can affect estrogen levels resulting in hormonal imbalance linked to fatigue, breast pain, hot flushes, and unexplained weight gain.
7. Can sunflower lecithin reduce breast milk supply?
Taking a sunflower lecithin supplement is thought to improve the flow of breast milk and may reduce the risk of clogged milk ducts. It’s believed that lecithin increases healthy fatty acid levels in breast milk, reducing milk thickness and preventing clogged ducts.
8. How do I take sunflower lecithin?
While dietary sources of lecithin are superior to dietary supplements, sunflower lecithin supplements are convenient and typically keto-friendly. Sunflower lecithin supplements are available in various forms, including powders, tablets, and lecithin granules.