If there is one element that no diet should be lacking in, it is lecithin. Lecithin benefits are many, and the foods needed to provide sufficient amounts are easily acquired.
In today's high-stress, fast paced world, we are always in danger of our health suffering from the constant demands placed upon us. We owe it to ourselves to take every precaution possible to ensure a productive, vigorous lifestyle. For many of us, consuming a balanced diet that provides us with all the necessary vitamins and nutrients can be quite a challenge, especially because it can be truly difficult to keep track of all the most essential elements, what they do, and what foods provide them.
Lecithin is a naturally occurring element of the cell membrane of every living cell. It is found primarily in fatty substances such as egg yolk or soy beans. The benefits of lecithin include perhaps most importantly, efficiently transporting fats and bad cholesterol through the blood stream so as to prevent it from adhering to the walls of veins, arteries, and the heart. Although it is relatively easy to consume the requisite amount of lecithin from a balanced diet, there are still supplements available for individuals who want to be especially sure to augment their lecithin intake.
In addition to being a doctor-prescribed, proven way to lower cholesterol and promote heart health, another of lecithin benefits is improving liver health as well. The fat transporting qualities of lecithin also translate to a person's liver, preventing fat build-up in that region as well, improving, or decreasing the chances of contracting, cirrhosis of the liver.
Other functions of lecithin include decreasing the risk of hardening of the cell membranes, which has proven in some patients to reduce joint pain due to arthritis. This benefit may in turn result in improved performance in sporting events requiring physical endurance, but there are not any conclusive studies to support this particular claim.
Lecithin benefits also include improved brain function, resulting in better memory recall for most people. For some patients, this could even help prevent or alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer's. Lecithin can also contribute to improved reproductive health, acting as an integral ingredient in the development of the fetal brain and nervous system. Some have even claimed lecithin as an effective supplement to aid in weight loss, but these particular claims have yet to be substantiated scientifically.
Because a person only needs about 30 to 50 grams of lecithin per day in order to enjoy its full benefits, obtaining the recommended dosage through diet is quite easily accomplished. Soybean oil, egg yolks, fish, whole grains, peanuts, and legumes are all excellent sources of this important nutrient and can generally be worked into the average person's diet with ease.
But as with most good things, there are risks and side effects to having too much. Consistently consuming unusually high levels of lecithin has been proven to result in nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, and weight gain. Therefore, moderation is the key to enjoying this nutrient to its full potential.