Sunflower lecithin: A formidable emulsifier

Sunflower lecithin: A formidable emulsifier
Sunflower lecithin: A formidable emulsifier

Sunflower lecithin is a natural and versatile ingredient that promotes health. Used as an alternative to soy-derived lecithin, the popularity of sunflower lecithin has increased in recent years, due to its non-GMO status.

Sunflower lecithin is a natural emulsifier that tastes delicious and is made from different oils. Sunflower lecithin is the new way to go for people looking for a soy-free product. Lecithin has a wide use in food production and is often used for quality control purposes, providing both homogenizing potential and an ability to reduce food textures. Lecithin has many possible bases, with some of its most common sources being egg yolks, soy, or sunflowers.

Examining sunflower lecithin

Sunflower lecithin is a natural emulsifier, combining immiscible substances such as fats and water, making it an indispensable ingredient for food. In fact, according to the Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, sunflower lecithin may be used as an additive to improve the quality of food and feed stuffs due to its high phosphatidylcholine (PC) and essential fatty acid (EFA) content.

It’s not just oil-based products that sunflower lecithin can be used in—it’s also adopted by cosmetics after refinement and fractionation. However, according to “Polar Lipids,” sunflower lecithin production is lower than that of other types of lecithins worldwide because crude sundower oil contains less lecithin than other oil types do.

Sunflower lecithin uses

Sunflower lecithin powder is not well known by many people. However, bakers swear by it as their secret ingredient in recipes. Since it is an emulsifier that suspends fats and oils and prevents them from mixing substances, sunflower lecithin is ideal for homemade plant milk, vegan butter, and even cookies.

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Sunflower lecithin has many applications: it can be used as dietary supplements or pharmaceuticals, like liposome encapsulation and yellow fat spreads.

One shouldn’t assume all applications of this product have been discovered though – Researchers mentioned in “Polar Lipids” speculated that industrial production of lecithin with adequate analysis techniques may be useful in evaluating the potential applications of sunflower byproducts to the production of new emulsifiers or thickening agents.

The proven benefits of sunflower lecithin

A lecithin-rich diet can lower cholesterol levels by up to 42%. Lecithin is also known for aiding in the breastfeeding process, as it can help with the process of reducing clogged milk ducts, which leads to conditions like mastitis or infection. Read more about lecithin in food

Studies show that lecithin-rich diets can help lower cholesterol and improve digestive health, as well as boost memory and mood with its high choline content. Lecithin makes breastfeeding easier too.

Anyway, you should use sunflower lecithin for your products, because it’s been extensively researched and is a great solution to common issues like high price and instability.

Sourcing sunflower lecithin

Made from the oil-bearing parts of the sunflower kernel, sunflower lecithin is cultivated by dehydrating and separating the sunflower into three main parts—oil, gum and solids.5 The lecithin comes from the gum and is processed through a cold press system.

Following extraction, it might be turned into powder for easy incorporation in food technology. This substance holds such high importance in countries that produce large amounts of sunflower oil—primarily Ukraine, Russia and Argentina— as well as economically significant Argentina.

Sunflower vs. soy

Historically, soybean has been the main source of lecithin worldwide; however, sunflower-derived substances can provide some potential advantages. For instance:

  • Soybeans are one of the most common allergies in humans and affect around 0.4% of children.11
  • Sunflower lecithin is gentler to extract compared with soybean lecithin.12
  • Sunflower lecithin contains a higher proportion of PC content and is less viscous compared with soybean lecithin.13
  • The book “Rapeseed: Chemical Composition, Production, and Health Benefits” noted that sunflower lecithin was better to use in confectionery products because it melts at a lower temperature than soybean products.
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Another advantage of sunflowers to soybeans is that they are naturally free from gluten, soy and dairy.

While sunflower lecithin currently has a higher market price than soybean lecithin, the growing demand for organic, allergen-free, non-GMO alternatives in the food ingredient industry is increasing according to Technavio’s recent report on this topic. For manufacturers in the food and beverage industry looking to add a natural lecithen

Study: Long-term walnut consumption thwarts CVD risk

A new study found people who eat walnuts early in life have a better diet and a better heart disease risk profile later in life. Heart diseases are the leading killer of both men and women, with one in 5 deaths caused by heart disease in 2020, according to the CDC. Heart diseases are also the leading cause of death worldwide, with 18 million people dying from it in 2019, according to WHO data.

Walnuts have been studied extensively for their heart health benefits; one study found eating five or more servings per week reduced your risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases by 25%, when compared to those who don’t eat walnuts at all.

New research builds onto these findings, looking specifically at how long-term walnut consumption is tied to CVD risk factors – even after you account for their higher diet quality.

In overall findings, researchers noted that walnut eaters had a better CVD risk factor profiles and concluded that this was due to their nutritional profile – 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 45 milligrams of magnesium and 2.5 grams of omega-3s per 1 ounce serving – making them a superfood patients need.


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