The proverbial “an apple a day” seems to be the whole truth when people say it keeps the doctor away. This nutrient-rich fruit is packed with antioxidants, healthy sugars, and essential fiber, one of which is pectin. Pectin is a natural component found in apple, which contains the highest concentration the soluble fiber at an average range of 1.0 to 1.5 percent per piece. Generally, pectin is a structural heteropolysaccharide, or simply understood as a complex carbohydrate, found in terrestrial plant cells and it’s often used to make fruit jellies and jams.
Munch on fresh apples (crisp and not so ripe) for breakfast or as a snack to absorb the pectin in their skins. You can also get your daily dose of pectin through nutritional supplements from health food stores. Another way is to extract pectin from apples through a home brewing process. Directions for making your own pectin extract at home can be found in various blogs and websites. As a home remedy, people mainly use it to treat indigestion and other gastrointestinal problems because of its high fiber content.
Benefits of Using Apple Pectin
Since it’s soluble fiber, pectin helps people who suffer from mild-to-severe constipation. Whether it’s taken as fiber supplement or consumed as fruit or jam, this type of fiber stays in the intestines, absorbs moisture, and softens the stool for a less painful excretion. Surprisingly, pectin seems to have the opposite effect in people who have diarrhea because it makes their stool less watery and firmer in appearance. It’s very important that you drink a lot of fluids after taking apple pectin because increasing fiber content without enough fluids can worsen your constipation.
Pectin is a powerful antioxidant that lowers cholesterol levels in the blood and effectively reduces a person’s risks of developing a cardiovascular disease. In fact, it works better than oat bran or guar gum in lowering the amount of cholesterol in the body according to Stewart Truswell, a nutritionist from the University of Syndey, Australia.
Aside from this heart-friendly benefit, pectin also helps diabetics manage their metabolic illness. It reduces the amount of sugar and calories absorbed into the blood stream and prevents spikes in blood sugar levels. By slowing down the digestion of sugars and fats, pectin lessens the body’s demand for insulin, which leads to a lower blood-glucose ratio. However, better consult your doctor before using pectin for managing your diabetes or heart disease.
One of the most significant benefits of pectin is in fighting the spread of cancer cells in the body and protecting the healthy tissues from developing malignant growths. Specifically, this soluble fiber from apples has been proven a formidable weapon against colon cancer. Its effect on excretion makes pectin the ideal cleansing agent of inorganic toxins that cause cancer. By binding to proteins, like galectin 3, that help spread cancer, pectin slows down or reverses the spread of the cancer to nearby tissues.
Photo Credit: Muffet via Flickr under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License
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