Citric acid: the benefits and harm to the body
Modern technologists consider as inefficient the old expensive way of producing such a common substance as citric acid from citrus fruits. The benefits and harms of the food additive E330 synthesized on an industrial scale - “lemon” - depends on many factors: the purpose and rules of application, as well as human health.
An indispensable product is used not only in the preparation of culinary masterpieces and in cosmetology, but also for medicinal purposes and in everyday life. The white crystalline citric acid powder is generally beneficial to the human body, but when it is used it is necessary to observe some precautions.
The production of "lemon" and its chemical composition
For the first time, citric acid (the benefits and harms of which were studied later) was isolated from the juice of unripe citrus fruits by the Swedish pharmacist Karl Scheele. It happened in 1784 and since then in science this substance is called food additive E330, but the method of its synthesis has changed significantly.The technology of extracting citric acid from citrus, stems of tobacco crops and needles turned out to be very expensive, and the resulting amount of crystalline powder did not allow to achieve industrial scale. Therefore, synthetic antioxidant was produced using sugar-containing products (sugar beet or cane, molasses) and specific strains of mold fungi — penicillin and aspergillus.
The product is rich in vitamins C, A and E, as well as vital minerals - sulfur, phosphorus and chlorine. The chemical structure of Е330 - tribasic hydroxycarboxylic acid, derivatives of which - salts and ethers - are called citrates.
Citric Acid Properties
The described food additive is easily dissolved in water and ethyl alcohol. When heated to high temperatures (more than 175 degrees) it disintegrates, releasing carbon dioxide and water. Natural or synthetic antioxidant - citric acid - benefits and harm, depending on the purpose and dosage.
White crystalline powder has a low level of toxicity, in reasonable quantities harmless to the body and the environment. In nature, "lemon" is found in most fruits and vegetables, it is easy to recognize by its sour, slightly tart taste.
In what areas is it used?
In the food industry, citric acid is used as a flavoring, antioxidant and preservative. It helps to preserve the texture, taste and appearance of food. Citric acid, whose benefits and harms are thoroughly studied today, is widely practiced in the manufacture of fruit jams, sauces, jellies, mayonnaise, confectionery, various canned goods and processed cheeses. Due to its culinary benefits, the E330 nutritional supplement is used as: a flavor enhancer, giving the products a savory "sourness"; natural preservative that destroys bacteria, fungi and mold, as well as pH-normalizing products; vitamin C supplements; marinade for meat dishes, giving tenderness to the protein structure; refining taste and reducing the acidity of wine.
Manufacturers of high-quality cosmetics appreciate citric acid for its antioxidant properties. They help to normalize the pH level of beauty products (creams and gels), bringing it closer to the natural balance of the skin; enhance the anti-aging effect of cosmetic products; have a depigmenting effect on the skin; effectively deal with acne and its consequences.
In medicine, citric acid is a component of the means involved in the citrate cycle (Krebs) - the central part of the catabolism processes governing the key stage of cell respiration. It helps alleviate the sore throat with a cold and reduce the severity of the hangover syndrome.
In everyday life, citric acid is widely used as a cleaning agent: with it you can polish the teapot and washing machine to scale against gloss, tidy kitchen surfaces and silver. Gardeners also recommend adding it to the mixture when feeding plants.
Citric acid: benefit and harm to humans
The healing properties of the E330 nutritional supplement, or “lemon”, produce a positive effect against a variety of ailments and worsening of human well-being. Many people are often surprised by the advice of doctors recommending that they use water with cold citric acid to treat and relieve discomfort in the throat; drinking warm water with the addition of E330, which cleanses the liver of toxins by stimulating bile secretion, as well as freeing the intestines from poisons and bacteria. Water with citric acid (it can bring benefit and harm depending on the concentration of the powder in the liquid) promotes the synthesis of bile, normalizes digestion.
One glass of such a drink, consumed daily on an empty stomach, improves gastrointestinal function, relieves heartburn and constipation. In addition, water with “lemon” cleans blood vessels and arteries, serves as a good complement to the main treatment in people with hypertension. This rinse drink has a bactericidal effect on the oral cavity, freshens breath, eliminates various microbes.
Nutritionists often recommend that patients with the purpose of weight loss include in the diet water with citric acid. The benefit and harm to the health of losing weight such a drink can bring, if you treat it differently: to adhere to or not to keep the proportions during its preparation; to eat right or not to reduce the amount of unhealthy food, which contains salt, sugar and fats in excess; monitor your well-being or ignore contraindications.
If, however, use the "lemon" in the dissolved form on an empty stomach, then it will help reduce appetite and increase the viscosity of saliva, start the metabolism, normalize the work of the stomach and clean the liver. At the same time, the caloric content of citric acid is 1 kcal per 100 g of product! Its glycemic index is low, it does not exceed 15 units.It is very simple to prepare a detox drink by squeezing the juice of one lemon into 1000-1500 ml of water or adding 5-10 g of citric acid crystals. Strengthen the effect of the cleansing cocktail will help a piece of chopped ginger root, fresh mint and lemon balm.
People with problematic oily skin and enlarged pores on the face citric acid (benefit and harm in this case due to its concentration) in the composition of the mask or solution for wiping the skin (2-3%) helps to even the complexion, giving it a natural matte shade, narrow pores, improving the texture of the skin surface, as well as clean it, making it soft and pleasant to the touch. To prepare a face peeling mask with “lemon”, a small pinch of the substance on the tip of the knife is enough.
In addition, hair becomes compliant when combing and returns a healthy shine if rinsed with acidified water (a weak solution of citric acid from 0.5 teaspoonful of crystals per 1000 ml of water) after washing with shampoo. This tool is also useful for health and improve the appearance of the nail plate: they become smooth, shiny. But too often to use the "lemon" in cosmetology is impossible, it is used by courses to solve a particular aesthetic task, and then make a break.
Pregnant women and nursing mothers, children and the elderly
What brings future moms citric acid - body benefits or harm? Against the background of the ban of most medications for colds, tea with a moderate amount of citric acid (or natural lemon juice) will act to heal the pregnant woman and the fetus.
Drink from water and several crystals of citric acid can be an indispensable tool for removing swelling of limbs during childbirth and after birth. In addition, the "lemon" normalizes intestinal function, improves the immune system and gently helps the body in the production of lactose. If baby food packaging is labeled with E330 dietary supplement, and the child is not allergic to citric acid, then there is no cause for concern. However, you should not exceed the daily dose of this substance, which is approximately 50-60 mg per 1 kg of baby weight. If a child accidentally eats a lot of citric acid crystals, then it is necessary to immediately flush the stomach and call an ambulance.
In the elderly person, a drink with citric acid helps to improve vision, gives strength, relieves discomfort in the joints, prevents the process of thrombosis, is a good prevention of varicose veins.In diabetes mellitus, a warm drink made from water with “lemon” significantly reduces the level of glucose in the blood.
Contraindications and harm "lemon" when used improperly
Experts recommend that before you begin regular use of food citric acid, discuss the benefits and harms of this practice with your doctor, as well as undergo an examination to make sure that there are no problems with the gastrointestinal tract. Harmless powder in people with gastric diseases can cause deterioration. Improperly prepared solutions with a high concentration of citric acid can cause stomach pain, vomiting and cough in humans.
It is known that the crystalline powder "lemon" in contact with the mucous membranes of the eyes and other organs causes significant harm, causing damage. For safety reasons, it is necessary to strictly observe the weak dosage of the substance indicated in the recipes. Independently to increase the concentration of citric acid is impossible, since it can lead to irritation of the gastric mucosa and the violation of its integrity, the appearance of spasms, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea,excessive sweating and fever, stool with blood, increased urge to urinate, headache, increased blood pressure, weakness, nervousness, and edema.
Prolonged use of citric acid adversely affects the structure of the tooth enamel, causing its gradual destruction. Regular and uncontrolled irritation of the stomach lining with a strong solution of “lemon” can also lead to the appearance of gastritis and ulcers. It is necessary to strictly monitor your well-being during the use of citric acid, to adhere to the daily dosage, at the slightest discomfort, you should stop taking the drink with this product.