P is for Pectin

An Apple a Day – Keeps The Doctor Away!

One reason that may be so is that apples contain Pectin. Yes you may ask – What is pectin? It’s a complex carbohydrate, generally a type of fiber found in the walls of plant cells.

Apples, grapefruit, orange and apricot are known to have very high levels of pectin. The many health benefits associated with pectin including:

  • Regulating the digestive system
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Lowering glucose levels
  • Lowering bad cholesterol levels

It also turns out, that pectin protects against cancer. Studies have confirmed, however, that pectin from those apples benefits individuals combating cancer.

A research team at the University of Georgia found that pectin destroyed up to 40 percent of prostate cancer cells upon exposure, while other studies revealed that pectin helps in fighting lung and colon cancers.

Benefits of natural pectin include protecting against hypertension, gallstones, cholesterol damage, ulcers, colitis, constipation, diarrhea, and diabetes damage. Pears, apples, guavas, plums, gooseberries, and oranges and other citrus fruits contain large amounts of pectin, while soft fruits like cherries, grapes, and strawberries contain small amounts of pectin.

The pectin is a water-soluble and complex carbohydrate, and this serves as a fat-burning food to some extent. The consistency and texture is gum-like or gel-like. When you eat fresh fruits or veggies, some of which are previously listed that contain pectin, the cells in our bodies absorb it instead of the fat. This therefore contributes to the weight loss.

Pectin is also considered to be a soluble fiber. It is generally safe in the foods that it is combine with, and further benefit of this fiber is that is will help regulate bowel movement. High-fiber diets have many benefits, which include, maintaining good bowel health, and controlling blood sugar.

Immune Cell Activation
When you eat an apple or an orange, the pectin goes straight through your digestive system without being absorbed into your bloodstream. However, scientists have been able to change the structure of this pectin to produce a material called modified citrus pectin, which can enter your bloodstream. Researchers have shown that modified citrus pectin can activate cells of the immune system, and these activated cells can kill leukemia cells in a sample of human blood. These results appeared in the August 2011 issue of “BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine”.

Many experts also recommend pectin particularly naturally occurring pectin such as apple pectin for heart health. This is useful as it is supportive in reducing the absorption of cholesterol. The pectin also acts to slow down the bile recycling in our system. What that means is that there is an increase in the excretion of bile acids,

because it is a soluble fiber which helps to reduce the absorption of cholesterol and also slows down bile recycling. The viscous gel-like nature of pectin causes it to bind to the bile acids, reduce their recycling time and increase the excretion of bile acids out of the body. When used on a regular basis, there is a lower level of bile acids in circulation in the body and the liver uses cholesterol to make more bile. This then results in a reduction of the LDL cholesterol levels.

An add-on effect of the Pectin when consumed is its effect on cholesterol. That is, pectin also helps to lower blood pressure.

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