I get a lot of emails everyday. Some are from clients working out on the program and they have a question about a certain exercise. Others are from friends who have health and fitness questions and end up emailing me for answers (which I'm truly flattered by). This morning I answered a question for a friend and I thought that it would make a great post for today.
So without further ado...the very first Ask The Trainer post!
Hi there! Hope you don't mind me asking you a question. It is actually from my hubby! He is reading a book about men who were on a naval submarine. One stated that he would eat almonds after every meal to get lecithin. He was just wondering what that is exactly.
Almonds are a good source of mono-unsaturated fats. This type of fat helps to lower bad cholesterol (LDL), among other great health benefits. However, lecithin is not an ingredient (as far as I know) in almonds, but it is in peanuts.
Lecithin is a fat like substance called a phospholipid. A phospholipid is the major component of a fraction which may be isolated from either egg yolk or soy beans. Lecithin is a compound containing two fatty acids and choline. It is the most common phospholipid in the body.
It is produced daily by the liver if the diet is adequate. It is needed by every cell in the body and is a key building block of cell membranes; without it, they would harden. Lecithin protects cells from oxidation (helping to fight free radicals and other cancer causing substances) and largely comprises the protective sheaths surrounding the brain. It is composed mostly of B vitamins, phosphoric acid, choline, linoleic acid and inositol. Although it is a fatty substance, it is also a fat emulsifier. Hence, it supports the circulatory system. It's choline is one of the more important aspects.
Choline can be made by the body. It is also found in liver, soybeans, egg yolk and peanuts. The diet will provide 400 to 900 mg choline daily. Due to its choline make-up, lecithin has been touted as a memory enhancer by improving cognitive function.
So in a nutshell (no pun intended), lecithin is a healthy fat found in egg yolk and soy beans. It helps protect cells from breakdown and helps the body process fat soluble vitamins like A, D, K & E. It's beneficial for improving heart and vascular function. Because it is a fat, it's recommended that lecithin be ingested from a healthy, well balanced diet and not as a supplement.
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