Apple pectin is a compound found in apples. Many other fruits also contain pectin, although apples contain very high concentrations of this compound. Cooks may be familiar with pectin because it is used in jams and jellies to help them set, but it also has a number of health benefits. People can consume apples for their pectin or take supplements, available through health food stores and in the vitamin and supplement aisle at some grocery stores.
Pectin's primary use is as a treatment for digestive disorders. It is high in fiber and can be used to regulate bowel movements. People with diarrhea may take apple pectin to firm the stool and reduce some of the inflammation associated with loose stool. Conversely, apple pectin can also help move things along for people experiencing constipation. Consuming apples on a regular basis can help people with a history of digestive problems regulate their bowels and prevent flareups.
In addition to regulating bowel movements, apple pectin can also be helpful for people with colitis, irritable bowel disease, and other digestive disorders. High fiber foods tend to increase activity in the intestines, which can provide numerous benefits. A doctor may recommend apples or pectin as a low cost way of managing intestinal conditions. Pectin can also be taken in association with medications such as bowel protectants and in fact, some medications to treat bowel disorders already contain apple pectin.
Pectin is also an antioxidant. Antioxidant foods appear to confer a number of health benefits, including lowering cholesterol, helping people manage diabetes, and potentially reducing the risks of certain cancers. People who consume apple pectin can also eat other antioxidant foods to keep their diets varied. Pectin is found in fresh and dried apples along with supplements, making it easy to access and integrate into the diet.
The old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” may be in part true. Pectin can be a useful dietary supplement to help people maintain general health and in some cases, doctors and nutritionists may recommend pectin for managing an ongoing condition. People of all ages and levels of health can benefit from pectin. However, people should make sure to see a doctor if diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, and other gastrointestinal symptoms recur or are persistent in nature, as there may be an underlying problem that needs to be identified and treated.