If you’re the kind of person who is into skincare and knows all about the beneficial ingredients used in skincare products, then you might have come across sunflower lecithin. Sunflower lecithin is extensively used in many skincare products, cosmetics, and food items.
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Is Sunflower Lecithin Vegan?
It is common for many people to know whether sunflower lecithin is vegan or not and whether its presence in any item makes it suitable and appropriate for vegans.
Although lecithin occurs in food items naturally, its supplements are usually derived from sunflower seeds, eggs, or soy.
Since it doesn’t involve animals, it is safe for vegans to use and consume. To understand all the different aspects of sunflower lecithin, continue reading the article below.
What Exactly Is Sunflower Lecithin?
Lecithin is a term that came from the Greeks, which means egg yolk. It is used to describe the brownish-yellow fatty substance that takes place naturally in plant and animal tissues.
Lecithin is used in cuisine items for a moist and smooth texture. It is also used to prevent the ingredients from getting separated. The cruelty-free brands that create their products often use sunflower lecithin in their cookies. They also use flaxseed as an egg replacement.
Sunflower lecithin is produced by separating and then going through dehydration of a sunflower into three main parts: gum, solids, and oil. Lecithin is derived from gum. Then the lecithin gets processed via a cold press system.
Sunflower lecithin is better than soy lecithin because it is not genetically modified; it is organic. It is not processed with chemicals, and sunflower allergy is much less common than soy allergy.
Plus, it is also a superior option to all the other lecithin sources because it is plant-based and GMO-free. Moreover, it is produced using tender extraction methods.
Health Benefits of Sunflower Lecithin
Here are some of the health benefits of sunflower lecithin:
Reduces Cholesterol Level
One of the most prominent benefits of Sunflower Lecithin for both men and women is its beneficial effects on the heart’s health and its potential to lower cholesterol levels. Studies have proved that consuming the right amount of sunflower lecithin can help reduce cholesterol by up to 42%.
Research has also suggested that lecithin can bump up the HDL cholesterol level, which helps keep the bloodstream clear by eliminating the build-up of fatty plaque from the arteries.
Improves Digestive Conditions
Sunflower lecithin is highly beneficial for people with digestive conditions like ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, or Crohn’s disease. This is because up to 70% of phospholipids are made of lecithin in the intestinal mucus layer, helping to form a protective barrier to block the entrance of harmful bacteria.
One of the most frustrating problems for breastfeeding women is clogged milk ducts, which are challenging to resolve and extremely painful. Symptoms like tenderness, redness, and swelling characterize it. Experts suggest sunflower lecithin for all women who experience such problems. Lecithin also helps in reducing the viscosity of breast milk.
Lecithin is beneficial for dry and irritated skin. To know how vital lecithin is for your skin, flip over any skincare products, and you may find any form of lecithin on the ingredients list. It also helps in keeping the skin soft. When combined with other skincare ingredients, lecithin has positively affected conditions like atopic dermatitis and eczema.
Boosts the Function of Brain
Sunflower lecithin is an excellent source of choline, an essential nutrient necessary for many different health aspects. Choline has proved to be important when it comes to the health of the brain.
Safer Than Other Sources of Lecithin
Sunflower lecithin is safer than any other source of lecithin. It is best if you want to minimize the intake of ingredients that are genetically modified. Sunflower seeds are also preferred over different kinds of lecithin because their extraction process does not involve potentially harmful chemicals.
Soy Lecithin vs Sunflower Lecithin
One of the major differences between sunflower lecithin and soy lecithin is that sunflower lecithin is extracted via a cold-pressing system that doesn’t involve any chemicals. In contrast, soy lecithin is extracted using chemicals like hexane and acetone.
Lecithin is a fatty, brown, or yellow-colored substance naturally present in animal and plant tissues. Lecithin’s commercial extraction can be done through sunflowers and soybeans. However, the quality of lecithin and its extraction can differ based on the source.
Soybean is one of the most popular sources of lecithin. This source of lecithin is cost-effective.
The lecithin extraction from soybean requires chemicals. Although, compared to sunflower lecithin, having soy-derived lecithin is a bit less healthy since most soybean crops are modified genetically. Also, unlike sunflower lecithin, the extraction process of soy lecithin is not natural. Despite all the mentioned facts, soy lecithin remains one of the most used food additives.
Sunflower lecithin, by this time, is becoming more and more popular than soy lecithin due to some obvious reasons. One of them is its extraction, which is natural – the cold pressing method is used. It does not involve any harmful chemicals at all.
Another reason sunflower lecithin is getting colossal recognition is that it’s not genetically modified. In a nutshell, sunflower lecithin is healthier and safer than soy lecithin.
Risks and Side Effects
Lecithin can be found in many food items you consume daily, such as margarine, dairy products, ice creams, and many more. In all of these food products, sunflower lecithin is usually safe. However, unpleasant side effects can occur.
Some of the most common symptoms of lecithin are abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, and nausea. If you experience side effects after consuming lecithin, decrease its usage and immediately consult a doctor.
So, if you’re consuming a lecithin supplement, consider going for sunflower lecithin since it’s the only guaranteed non-GMO product.
What Kind of Lecithin One Should Use
Here are the two categories of lecithin available: de-oiled or fluid powder, derived from sunflower, canola, and soy.
While baking a loaf of bread, there’s an option to go for the powdered or the fluid variety. Another thing that must be considered is that lecithin is not soluble in water. Hence liquid lecithin should be mixed into the dough. Professionals recommend blending the lecithin with fats and oils before mixing it in the dough to dodge the spotting issue. However, the de-oiled-powered lecithin is easier to work with.
Where to Get Lecithin
The most important thing to remember when choosing the lecithin type is its source. Canola and soy flower are standard lecithin sources. However, since soy is high-risk and an allergen crop, almost all bakeries use canola or sunflower lecithin instead of soy lecithin.
The lecithin obtained from sunflower is more common, but the dosage rates for sunflower lecithin are higher because of the naturally obtained waxes from a sunflower’s seeds. Liquid lecithin from canola is used as a substitute for soy. It generally contains fewer impurities than sunflower lecithin and has no wax.
Here are some lecithins in different forms:
- Soy lecithin liquid (non-GMO)
- De-oiled soy lecithin powder (non-GMO)
- Sunflower lecithin liquid (non-GMO)
- De-oiled sunflower lecithin (non-GMO)
- Canola (rapeseed) lecithin (non-GMO)
Since now you know what sunflower lecithin is and how it benefits your health, you can have it without guilt. However, consult your doctor before using it daily as every person is different. There’s a possibility that it might not suit you.
It is entirely vegan, with absolutely no interference from animals in the process of its making. Moreover, it is great for your skin and other health issues.
Remember that some studies have shown its fair share of side effects. And there has not been enough guide on whether to use it during pregnancy, so avoid using it while pregnant to stay on the safe side.