Lecithin: what is this?
What is lecithin? Translated from the Greek word lecithin means "yolk" and in the modern interpretation is a by-product of refining vegetable oils. This substance is often used in industry due to its properties. You can find a mention of it on a chocolate wrapper called E322 or in dietary supplements. In addition, in nature this ether is found in almost all plant and animal tissues.
Lecithin in the product enriches it, supplyingthe body is an important element of metabolism. About food containing various types of lecithin, read in our articles Which milk is better and What do chocolate do.
The composition of lecithin
This complex substance includes several components
- phosphoric acid.
All these elements are necessary for humanorganism. In a broad sense, lecithin is a cholesterol antagonist, and therefore helps to lower the level of the latter. More information about this you can find out by reading our article How to get rid of cholesterol.
Useful properties of lecithin
For the body, lecithin is extremely importantvalue, because it affects the functioning of the body. It is a substance that fills the intercellular space, serves as a building material for liver tissue, ensures the normal functioning of the nervous system. Thanks to lecithin and its antioxidant properties, the body gets rid of free radicals and other toxins.
In addition, this substance belongs to the categorysurface-active, that is, it easily interacts with two unbound substances. This useful property is widely used in the manufacture of products that require "binding" of fats and water, which, as is well known, interact very weakly with each other. Such substances are also called emulsifiers, because they create strong, uniform emulsions.
Sources of natural lecithin
The most lecithin-rich foods with highfat content: vegetable and animal oils, meat, fish, etc. For example, the daily norm of an adult is about five grams of lecithin. This amount is contained in only 2 chicken eggs.
The main benefit is lecithin, obtained fromproducts that have not been genetically processed, therefore, worldwide special certificates have been adopted to standardize the quality of the substance. Information on this you can find on the packaging of goods.
Sources of commercial lecithin
On an industrial scale, the substance is obtained by hydrating the by-products obtained in the production of soy flour and sunflower oil.
This kind of product is obtained from purified soybeanoil. Processing occurs under a reduced temperature regime, so lecithin is produced in the manufacture of cold pressed oils. The composition of such lecithin includes useful fatty acids, vitamin A and phospholipids, this substance is most often used in the food industry as an emulsifier.
Lecithin from sunflower seeds
From the sunflower oil, lecithin is extracted. This product has the properties of an antioxidant. But its fatty acids, which differ from those contained in soy, and vitamin E, have a beneficial effect on the condition of the hair, nails and skin of a person, that is why they are often used in cosmetic products.
The use of lecithin
In the food industry, the substance is used extremely widely. It is used in the manufacture of:
- macaroni and bakery products;
- confectionery products;
- chocolate and chocolate glaze:
- soy milk and other products.
Lecithins are also used in pharmacology, and in the production of dietary supplements. They are one of the main active substances of hepatoprotectors.
In cosmetology, in the production of creams, lecithin is added as a natural antioxidant.