Since the discovery of dietary supplements at the beginning of the last century, the food industry has changed forever. Manufacturers of food products have realized that they can influence their taste, appearance, aroma, extend the period of sale and thus make them more attractive to the consumer. In the modern world there are many additives with a variety of functions: they improve the texture, stabilize the color, make the taste rich, and fight harmful microorganisms. Around these substances, there are a lot of prejudices, which sometimes contradict each other. Some people consider additives to be an absolutely necessary component in products,while others are more negative.
However, additives are used in the vast majority of products. Their use is regulated by a special Commission consisting of international experts. Experts collect relevant information about these substances and, based on the results of the discussion, make a decision whether the additive can be used in production, being conditionally safe, or it should be banned. This is a serious and large-scale activity, but discussions in society do not subside.
In this article, we will talk about one of these additives — soy lecithin. We will understand its properties, features of use, biological role, as well as potential benefits or harms.
- NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF SOY LECITHIN
- APPLICATION IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY
- CONFECTIONERY PRODUCTION
- FAT AND OIL PRODUCTION
- DAIRY INDUSTRY
- THE MEDICINE
- USE of E322
- IMPROVES CHOLESTEROL LEVELS
- ACTS AS A SOURCE OF CHOLINE
- CAN STRENGTHEN THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
- HELPS THE BODY COPE WITH PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS
- CAN IMPROVE COGNITIVE FUNCTION
- MAY PREVENT OSTEOPOROSIS
- REDUCES THE SYMPTOMS OF MENOPAUSE
- CAN PREVENT CANCER
- SOY LECITHIN IN BABY FOOD
- USE FOR HEALTH PROBLEMS
- A DEFICIENCY OF LECITHIN IN THE BODY
- HARM AND SIDE EFFECTS of E322
NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF SOY LECITHIN
Lecithins are complex compounds with a chemical formula that resembles fats with a small percentage of impurities. They are contained in egg yolk or soy oil. What is the process technology in the second case?
Soy was cultivated several millennia ago in the Eastern region, cultivated and consumed as food. The plant contains essential amino acids that are well absorbed by humans. For this reason, in the century before last, it attracted the attention of breeders. With the goal of making soy profitable and affordable, they discovered another use for it. Soy seeds began to process in a special way and get raw oil-a brown liquid with a specific smell, saturated with a variety of substances:
- Saturated fatty acids — palmitic and stearic.
- Oleic monounsaturated fatty acid (omega-9).
- Omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated acids.
- Iron and zinc.
- Vitamin B4 (choline).
- Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol).
- Vitamin K (phylloquinone).
- Sterols that are part of the cell membrane.
The energy value of the substance is 899 kilocalories. In the international classification, the additive appears under the code E322, which is always indicated by the manufacturer on the package.
APPLICATION IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY
Soy oil, which contains lecithin, is in the second place in the world industry after palm oil. It can be of several types:
- Cold-pressed-it is obtained directly by pressing soy seeds and is not processed; it is considered the most useful and rich in valuable substances, including a large amount of lecithin;
- Unrefined is a raw oil that has undergone a hydration process in order to extend the shelf life; it contains a lot of lecithin, as well as in cold-pressed oil; it is actively used for food purposes, but it is not recommended to heat the substance, because under the influence of temperature, carcinogens are formed.
- Refined-this oil usually has a pleasant smell and is often used in the food industry.
The lecithin contained in the oil determines a wide range of its application from the confectionery industry to the pharmaceutical and even cosmetic industry. Consider these areas.
In this food sub-sector, lecithin is used in a variety of products. Its main function is to be an emulsifier, i.e. to make different types of substances mix, facilitating the production process. Why is this necessary? For the test, sometimes you need liquids that, under normal conditions, due to different chemical properties, simply can not form a mixture (usually water and fat). Lecithin is able to simultaneously react with both fats and water, and thus provokes their interaction. In the preparation of which products is this important?
Bakery muffins. Here lecithin performs two tasks at once: a substance that creates water-oil emulsions, i.e. an emulsifier, and as an important element of confectionery fat. In addition, lecithin, due to its origin, can replace the egg yolk in the dough. Thanks to lecithin, it is possible to get the crumb structure necessary for normal baking and not worry about the appearance of irregularities on the surface. As a result, the manufacturer gets a smooth, even product of uniform color and correct texture. This method of application is common all over the world.
Waffles. In their preparation, lecithin is added to both the dough and the filling. When baking wafer sheets, the lecithin in the dough helps ensure that the wafers do not stick to the forms. The filling for them is prepared on a fat basis, so in this case, lecithin will preserve a light uniform consistency for it, helping to evenly distribute the water and fat components. The finished product turns out to be crisp and does not lose these properties throughout the entire storage period, does not crumble or break. Lecithin acts in a similar way in cones for ice cream and custards.
Cookie. The dough-base for it should be elastic, which is possible thanks to lecithin. The substance makes the product crumbly and helps reduce the fat content (since it itself belongs to the fat-like). In addition, lecithin is able to give the liver a uniform color and a uniform, crack-free surface. A product prepared with lecithin usually turns out to be soft and has a delicate taste, since it takes much less time (and the time factor means a lot to the confectionery industry).
Pancakes. The dough for pancakes should be moderately viscous, so that baking is successful. Lecithin helps control this characteristic. The use of additives significantly simplifies the production process, makes the flow of products consistent and easy to control.
Biscuits and cupcakes. For these confectionery products, it is especially important to carefully distribute fat, which just provides lecithin. Its addition makes it easier to mix the dough and saves the product from sticking to the metal baking dish — so that it does not lose its aesthetic appearance.
Thus, the use of lecithin in this area gives the product (at the test stage) fluidity, color uniformity, smooth and uniform texture and friability. All these features can be achieved by adding 1-2 percent lecithin.
FAT AND OIL PRODUCTION
The emulsifying properties of this additive are used in the production of margarine, spreads, confectionery fats and special fats for frying. The properties of lecithin allow it to make the fat mass softer, more uniform and speed up the manufacturing process. Confectionery fat, on the basis of which fillings are often prepared, should be of the highest quality, and lecithin allows you to ensure this.
Lecithin plays a special role in the production of margarine. It is margarine that is often used in the production of bread and other baked goods, as compared to vegetable oils, it provides a more stable texture to the product and a soft surface. Margarine adapts better to changes in temperature during cooking. Without lecithin, this would not be possible. Therefore, its role in the production of margarine for puff products, products from shortbread and whipped dough, creams and fillings can not be underestimated — the fat-and-oil and confectionery industries are very related.
In fermented milk products, lecithin shows the same emulsifying properties. Thanks to its addition, the texture of ryazhenok, kefir, sour cream, yogurt, milk creams and desserts becomes smooth, uniform, and the taste is more delicate. In addition, it significantly speeds up the production of products.
Medicine actively uses the natural capabilities of lecithin. Experts consider it a kind of “fuel” for our body. It is a part of cell membranes, necessary for brain neurons and liver cells, and important for normal cholesterol levels in the blood. This is why lecithin-based drugs are so common. They are prescribed for liver pathologies — hepatitis, intoxication, and obesity.
Do not overlook the antioxidant properties of lecithin. It is able to remove accumulated harmful substances — for example, in case of poisoning, withdrawal syndrome, helping the liver to cope with toxins, regenerate cells and stimulating the production of bile. Doctors prescribe medications to patients with impaired lipid metabolism, for the prevention of atherosclerosis and after suffering from serious cardiovascular diseases.
Usually the drug is in the form of capsules, but for children it is produced in a more convenient form. When breastfeeding, the baby receives lecithin, which is necessary for development, along with milk. Older children are given the Supplement in the form of a gel (often enriched with vitamins and having a pleasant fruit taste).
Lecithin is also valuable in the cosmetics industry. It is put in creams, serums, emulsions, tonics, souffles for the body, masks. Here it plays the role of a unique multifunctional component:
- As an active ingredient, it restores the protective functions of Mature skin, as well as damaged and in need of nutrition. In addition, it clearly shows antioxidant properties.
- As an emulsifier, it turns the fats that are part of cosmetics into micro-drops and gives them the desired texture (for example, thick “sour cream”). This texture is evenly distributed over the skin and is better absorbed.
- Another interesting task of the Supplement is to be a kind of”vehicle”. To do this, substances that can not overcome the barrier of the epidermis are placed in special capsules made of lecithin and those transport them to the skin. So lecithin makes cosmetics work as effectively as possible.
- As a rule, if the composition of a cream includes lecithin, it has moisturizing properties and a pleasant texture. Often this substance is combined with vitamin complexes, which only increases its beneficial effect.
USE of E322
Having analyzed the scope of application of lecithin and its biological properties, we will describe its positive effect on the body.
IMPROVES CHOLESTEROL LEVELS
The level of cholesterol (organic compound) in the blood demonstrates how adequately the lipid exchange in the body occurs. It is commonly divided into” bad”, i.e. low-density lipoproteins and” good”, i.e. high-density lipoproteins. Lecithin, according to research, helps to increase the level of “good”. The substance is able to prevent the deposition of cholesterol on the walls of arteries, which means that it resists atherosclerosis, improves the overall health of the heart and blood vessels.
ACTS AS A SOURCE OF CHOLINE
Choline is called a vitamin-like substance, which, although not on the same level as vitamins, plays an important role for the body:
- it is part of the neurotransmitters that transmit signals between nerve cells, as well as from nerve cells to muscles; in other words, a person is capable of mental activity and physical activity due to choline;
- provides normal functioning of the brain area responsible for memory and learning ability;
- it acts as a substance that forms the shell of nerve cells; sometimes it is compared to the insulating coating of electrical wires;
- helps the lungs become saturated with oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the blood.
Scientists also found that choline is important for proper fetal development, when the nervous system is formed and future mental abilities are laid. Choline also has a positive effect on neural cells that are genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease, so foods containing it are important for the diet — soy beans, as well as beef, Turkey, chicken, cod, chocolate and bread made from coarse flour.
CAN STRENGTHEN THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
The antioxidant effect of lecithin is important when it comes to the immune system. It resists the effects of free radicals (this is especially true for those who live near environmentally unsafe enterprises), protecting the body from stress and overload, including intellectual ones.
Other substances rich in lecithin help improve the quality of breast milk, prevent degenerative changes in muscle and nervous tissue, strengthen capillaries, promote digestion, protect the thin walls of the gastrointestinal tract and help absorb fat-soluble vitamins. In fact, it has few contraindications: it is allowed even for people who are allergic to other fats, as well as those who have arthritis (with this disease, there are dietary restrictions) and diabetes (lecithin reduces the need for insulin).
There are also categories of people who need lecithin especially:
- pregnant women development of all vital systems of the fetus;
- infants and children of preschool age for the development of intellectual abilities;
- teenagers during the period of active growth of the body;
- for athletes and those who do a lot of physical activity;
- older people, since the content of lecithin in the body decreases with age;
- people with skin diseases such as dermatitis and psoriasis, when the lipid surface of the skin is affected (lecithin helps restore it as part of a comprehensive treatment);
- those with liver and gallbladder diseases.
There is a norm for taking lecithin-3-4 times a day before meals. If you choose a granulated Supplement, the adult dose is one teaspoon (5-6 grams) with a glass of water. For a child, half a teaspoon.
HELPS THE BODY COPE WITH PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS
With significant physical exertion, depression, mood swings and other psychophysical deviations from the norm, the overall health of a person significantly worsens. Irritability, insomnia, muscle pain, a drop in General physical tone — a General decline in strength develops into a chronic state of depression. In order not to become a hostage to medication in such a situation, first of all, you should pay attention to your diet and focus on proper nutrition.
Soy lecithin is recommended for use with neuritis, neurosis, pathological fatigue and muscle overload. The substance of the brain consists of lecithin by almost a third. The peripheral nervous system contains about 17% lecithin. Therefore, regular use of soy helps to cope with depressive disorders and a decrease in muscle tone.
CAN IMPROVE COGNITIVE FUNCTION
The ability of a person to reason, learn, and make decisions is the main property that distinguishes a person from other representatives of the fauna of our planet. Cognitive functions, also known as cognitive functions, are the basis of a person’s perception of the world. Cognitive abilities include memory, attention, intelligence, perception, speech, and the ability to control and organize one’s own motor activity. Cognitive disorders include:
- Loss of attention, inability to focus on thoughts, actions, or objects.
- Loss of the ability to build complete images based on data that comes from the senses.
- Memory loss of varying severity.
- Loss and weakening of intellectual abilities (including senile dementia).
- Difficulties with speech function, loss of the ability to formulate and pronounce statements.
- Disorders of communication of the Central nervous system with the musculoskeletal system.
As a prevention of these deviations, experts on proper nutrition recommend that you include products containing lecithin in your diet. Soy lecithin helps to normalize the functioning of the brain:
- Increases the transport function of nerve fibers.
- Improves blood supply to the brain.
- Prevents the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.
- It stimulates tissue renewal and improves overall metabolism.
Due to the complex effect of lecithin, it is really able to significantly affect human cognitive functions and stimulate their recovery after crises.
MAY PREVENT OSTEOPOROSIS
If there is a lack of calcium in the bone tissues, osteoporosis develops. As a result, the bones become less strong, thin and easily break under loads that previously seemed ordinary. Twisting your leg out of the blue or breaking your arm when you hit a door jamb is a common problem for people with osteoporosis. According to statistics, women most often suffer from brittle bones after menopause. For older men, osteoporosis is also very dangerous. Another sign of upcoming osteoporosis is rapid fatigue.
To prevent the risk of developing a lack of calcium in bone tissues, you can use soy lecithin regularly. Calcium supplements alone are not enough, because this mineral is poorly absorbed by the body. Lecithin is a fat-like substance and contributes to the dissolution of calcium compounds. The presence of soy products in everyday food can exclude the possibility of showing signs of osteoporosis for a long time. A mandatory condition is to eat foods rich in calcium: milk, cheese, cottage cheese.
REDUCES THE SYMPTOMS OF MENOPAUSE
When a woman is in her early 50s, her life goes through a transition period — menopause. Menopause is a condition of the female body after the end of regular menstruation and ovulation cycle. Although monthly bleeding brings few people joy, it is the menstrual cycle that helps maintain women’s beauty and attractiveness. Menopause immediately affects the overall state of the body:
- There may be frequent changes in blood pressure.
- Many women at the beginning of menopause often gain weight.
- Hot flashes due to changes in the hormonal background.
- The condition of the hair and skin deteriorates.
- Possible manifestations of depression and other nervous disorders.
Lecithin contains two b vitamins-Inositol and choline. These vitamins, if used regularly, help the body cope with a variety of stressful factors. Soy lecithin has a positive effect on the General condition of women during the difficult period of menopause:
- It relieves frequent headaches and other disorders of the Central nervous system.
- Improves the condition of the skin, helps to get rid of dermatitis and allergic manifestations on the skin.
- Normalizes the heartbeat.
- Stimulates intestinal peristalsis.
Lack of lecithin during menopause causes direct harm to the body. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully prepare the menu, so that the food contains all the necessary vitamins and trace elements, and helps to make up for the lack of vital substances.
CAN PREVENT CANCER
Cancer cells lead to tissue atypism. Multiplication of tumor neoplasms causes changes in histology and shape in tissues and internal organs. A healthy body can recognize mutant cancer cells and neutralize them. In a state of stress and with a lack of vital substances, the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer agents is reduced to a critical level.
Lecithin is a transport medium for the delivery of vitamins and minerals to internal organs and tissues. In addition, products rich in lecithin contribute to the elimination of toxins and have an antioxidant effect.
In the early stages of cancer development, regular use of soy Supplement E322 improves the overall health of patients and can prevent the development of benign and malignant tumors.
SOY LECITHIN IN BABY FOOD
A common problem faced by young parents is that the baby suffers from diarrhea, allergies, or stomach disorders when eating dairy products. According to who statistics, milk protein intolerance is a problem faced by about 8% of children worldwide. The manifestation of symptoms of milk protein intolerance can be excluded with a special diet.
Manufacturers add soy protein isolate to baby food to reduce the risk of developing allergic reactions to cow’s milk. Soy-based mixes are suitable for feeding babies who cannot eat dairy products. Practice shows that a child with constant use of soy normalizes the state of the intestine and improves the overall condition of the body.
Eating soy lecithin also helps cure or alleviate other systemic eating disorders in children:
- Lactose intolerance-most often develops in premature babies. Products with soy lecithin are suitable for replacing dairy food for babies with lactose intolerance.
- Galactosemia is a genetic mutation that causes a child to experience problems with the functioning of the liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract when using milk-containing products. Soy isolate is suitable for replacing milk in the diet of a sick child and provides a lack of vitamins and nutrients in the body.
- Celiac disease is a congenital gluten intolerance, in which the baby can not eat bread. To replace conventional dry mixes for celiac disease, soy analogues are used.
Before introducing foods containing soy lecithin into the baby’s diet, be sure to consult with your doctor. It will warn you about possible contraindications to the use of soy, if any.
USE FOR HEALTH PROBLEMS
Food lecithin is a mixture of lipids, essential fatty acids and carbohydrates. Lecithin is essential for the healthy functioning and growth of human cells. It is embedded in cell membranes, forms a protective shell around nerve fibers, prevents the deposition of cholesterol inside blood vessels, and increases the concentration of lipids in the blood. The effect of lecithin on the body is complex, so it is recommended as a dietary Supplement for neurosis and physical fatigue.
Soy lecithin should not be considered a panacea for all diseases. However, regular consumption of products containing this substance has a beneficial effect on the state of individual organs, the nervous system, the brain and the entire body as a whole. Nutritionists and nutrition experts recommend using soy products in the daily diet for people with gastrointestinal disorders, General immune decline, kidney and liver diseases. For vegetarians and people who lead a healthy lifestyle, soy protein is necessary to make up for the deficiency of b vitamins. During pregnancy, lecithin helps to preserve the health of the mother and child.
A DEFICIENCY OF LECITHIN IN THE BODY
The human body in the modern technogenic environment is affected by a lot of negative factors. Regular stress and depression, eating disorders, high physical activity lead to the development of a lack of lipids in the blood and the appearance of lecithin deficiency. The lack of this substance manifests itself in different ways. Headaches, rapid fatigue, irritability, problems with the gastrointestinal tract, disorders of the endocrine system, jumps in blood pressure-lecithin deficiency can cause the development of any of these symptoms.
It is not immediately possible to determine the source of the problem. In the prevention of such conditions doctors and nutritionists recommend on a regular basis to enter into the everyday diet of soy lecithin. If after 2-3 weeks of introduction of a dietary Supplement or soy products, the General condition of the body began to improve, you should use lecithin additionally on a regular basis.
HARM AND SIDE EFFECTS of E322
Lecithin is sold in pharmacies without a prescription (in the form of syrups, capsules, or as part of multivitamin complexes), but it is better to take this Supplement after consulting a specialist. With excessive doses of this substance the body can react with the following manifestations:
- difficulty breathing;
- increased sweating;
- nausea and vomiting;
- digestive disorder;
- heart and joint pain.
Thus, excess lecithin contributes to the disorder in the work of those systems that support an acceptable amount of it. Therefore, the dosage should be selected with a doctor. Independently, you can include foods rich in lecithin in the diet. A good alternative to synthetic vitamins will be pine nuts, soy beans, bran, brewer’s yeast, cereals and string beans. Overdo it with their number is difficult, so nutritionists approve of this strategy.
We should also mention the universal contraindication to taking lecithin – allergies to soy. There is also an opinion that pregnant women and young children should not use soy, which can negatively affect the development of the child. However, this is a controversial statement in any way relates to the soy, not the lecithin. Therefore, there is no reason to remove from your menu useful plant products (beans, beans, nuts, necessary for the body). It is also important to add other natural dishes to them (so as to balance the amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates), follow a diet and rest regime, and do not neglect moderate physical activity.