Lecithin is one of those things called for in a lot of raw and vegan recipes and most people have no idea what the heck it is. The term lecithin connotes two meanings that are somewhat related but are not used in the same sense. In biochemistry and other related science, lecithin is a synonym for phosphatidyl choline. It is the main lipid component in biological membranes, like our cell membranes or cell walls of plants.
On the other hand, commercial lecithin is actually a natural mixture of neutral and polar lipids, including glycolipids, triglycerides, sterols, and small quantities of fatty acids, carbohydrates, and sphingolipids. Lecithin that contains phosphatidyl choline is produced mainly from vegetable sources, although it may also be found in animal and microbial sources.
We carry sunflower and soy lecithin at the store. It is considered an emulsifier and helps to make desserts and smoothies creamy and blend ingredients better. It's kinda like the egg yolk in baking traditional baked dishes.
The following are some of the many health claims that lecithin is said to have:
- Cardiovascular health
- Liver and cell function
- Fat transport and fat metabolism
- Reproduction and child development
- Treatment for gallstones
- Improvement in memory, learning and reaction time
- Healthy hair and skin
- Cell communication
- Physical performance and muscle endurance
- Relief of arthritis