Lecithin is a commonly used ingredient in more things than you might realize. The body uses lecithin as part of the metabolic process to move fats. It is also used in many packaged foods to help with emulsifying. Many industries have begun using the ingredient because it helps to offer stability.
It’s important to know what foods are high in lecithin. Particularly when you are making various foods and meals, you may have the desire to utilize the binder – and the ingredient can be found naturally in a number of foods.
Soy has been one of the largest sources of lecithin due to it being a widely grown crop in the United States. Approximately 94 percent of soy is genetically modified, however. It’s important to understand how lecithin is extracted as the chemicals used can vary – ranging from hexane to acetone.
Sunflower has become a recent source of lecithin as a way to steer clear of soy due to allergens. Lecithin can be found naturally in sunflower oil and the crops are not typically genetically modified. Further, the extraction process is usually gentler, including the use of a cold press solution as opposed to using chemical solvents.
Naturally in Many Foods
Lecithin is actually a type of fat, so it’s found in a number of foods naturally.
More specifically, lecithin is found in the yolk. You can choose to cook the egg in any way that you’d like as long as the yolk is part of the equation.
Peanuts are naturally high in lecithin. You can choose to eat them raw, mixed up as peanut butter, or in any other form.
All sorts of whole grains will have lecithin. You can have fun with this because of the many whole grains that are readily available on the market – barley, buckwheat, bulgur, brown rice, oatmeal, millet, and even popcorn. You can also find whole-wheat products such as pasta, bread, and crackers, but the lecithin levels will be lower since they have been processed.
Whole milk contains lecithin naturally – and there are smaller amounts of it found in reduced-fat milk. Other dairy products, as such, will also have lecithin – whipped cream, cheese, and more.
Lecithin is commonly used as a food additive of dairy products because it acts as a binding agent and helps to prevent the dairy from becoming rancid. You’ll find it in such foods as frozen desserts (like ice cream and frozen yogurt), salad dressings, and even baked goods (like cheese danishes, cheesecake, and more).
All sorts of beans will have lecithin in them. Obviously, soybeans will have them since soy is a primary way to harvest lecithin for other industries. Other beans you may want to add to your diet include kidney beans and black beans.
Various types of seafood are high in lecithin. This gives you a healthy source of protein while also providing your body with the ability to produce more choline. Some of the seafood you may want to eat more of includes salmon, bluefin tuna, herring, anchovy, and mackerel. Basically, any seafood that is high in oils will also be high in lecithin.
A high level of lecithin is found in the organ meat of cows, pigs, and other animals. This includes such organs as the brain, kidney, and liver. While they’re not always easy to find in grocery stores, you can ask any butcher for organ meat.
In addition to foods that are high in lecithin, it’s also possible to find it as a dietary supplement, either as an oil or capsule. This allows you to get the lecithin you need without having to worry about what food you are going to eat. Additionally, it allows you to know just how much of the substance you are consuming in a day.
Many of the supplements on the market contain natural fruit flavors, such as pineapple or coconut, which makes them easy to eat.
According to the USDA, two tablespoons of natural soy-based lecithin contain approximately 80 calories and 8 grams of fat. Considering that it is relatively high in calories and fat for just a supplement, many people prefer to simply choose high-lecithin foods to consume.
Why You Should Eat Foods High in Lecithin
Now that you know what foods are high in lecithin, it’s important to know about the various health benefits of consuming such foods.
When you add more lecithin into your diet, it can help with a number of issues:
- Liver disease
- Gallbladder disease
Research has shown that it is also capable of improving immune function (particularly those with diabetes), reducing cholesterol levels, and helping people to digest better, especially for those with ulcerative colitis.
Lecithin helps to produce choline, which plays a vital role in brain development and memory. Eating foods that are naturally high in lecithin can help to improve cognitive function.
Additionally, lecithin is capable of working as a breastfeeding aid. Not only can it help to prevent clogged milk ducts, but it can also prevent the development of mastitis. The Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation even goes as far as recommending that breastfeeding mothers take 1200 mg of lecithin up to four times a day to take a preventative approach to difficulties in nursing.
Knowing Where to Source Lecithin
Although there are a number of foods that are high in lecithin, it is not always used in baking and cooking. As such, it’s critical to know where you can source lecithin directly. After all, it can be utilized in many industries, from paint to cosmetics to construction.
Working with a reputable source, such as National Lecithin, ensures that you get the high quality and consistency that you need for your project. You’ll want to obtain the kind of lecithin that you need, too, which includes both soy and sunflower.
By using fresh lecithin, your product can be more successful and allow you to be more competitive within your industry.
Tiffany is a Medical Student and also works as a fitness coach in part-time. She is also a writer and writes on health and fitness articles. Tiffany loves to engage with users and help them provide various useful information on General Health. She provides researched-based information and also featured on various blogs and magazines.