What is pectin and why it’s good for you

Strawberry Jam, scones and clotted cream make for the perfect Devon cream tea, a typically British snack, July 1970. (Photo by RDImages/Epics/Getty Images)
Strawberry Jam, scones and clotted cream make for the perfect Devon cream tea, a typically British snack, July 1970. (Photo by RDImages/Epics/Getty Images) /

Food trends and specifically health food trends are a dime a dozen. Really, it seems like every other day some miracle food is being unearthed by specialists and dieticians alike, and it’s often hard to keep up for those of us trying to watch out for our health. One such miracle food item is apparently pectin.

But just what is pectin and why is it so good for you? Well, as it turns out, pectin isn’t a food item at all, but is considered to be an acid in particular—some would call it a derivative—and the health benefits are indeed astronomical in helping promote good overall health.

So what is Pectin? And why is it so good for me?

In powder form (manufactured), pectin is produced specifically from citrus fruits, in which the pectin itself is found in huge supply. Most people associate pectin to be found naturally in apples and that is of course correct, but citrus fruits are very rich in the acid, especially in the rind and/or zest.

So when a recipe calls for the zest of a particular citrus fruit, rest assured that you’re getting some good pectin in your system and the results can benefit your body in more ways than you ever thought possible.

When produced unnaturally (manufactured from a derivative), or rather commercially, as in the deriving from the aforementioned zest and or citrus fruits, this end result is used primarily for “jellifying” preserves, as Wikipedia puts it.

That’s why you always hear that jam or jelly is loaded with pectin…i.e. because it’s used in making jellies and jams—to thicken them. Duh! Right?

As far as thickening an end food product is concerned, the same can go for slurries and Xanthan gum, as well as other thickening agents in food and baking, although neither is beneficial to health as pectin is.

Well then yay for jams and jellies, and waiter…please bring on the jam, by the truck load, if you will!

But what about pectin in its natural form?

Well, we’ve already sort of covered that. It’s found naturally in acidic citrus fruits and in other foods as well. According to Wikipedia, pectin is found in large supply in: Apples, Citrus fruits/peels and rinds, carrots, cherries and a few others.

So loading up on any of these is a great way to bring up those pectin levels in your diet and improve your health…. And so what about those health benefits? Just what is pectin good for?

According to healthline.com, pectin is great for weight loss. It actually makes you feel full for longer periods of time according to the source.

Pectin is also considered a ‘prebiotic’—different from a ‘probiotic’. The prebiotic is great for ridding the body of toxins and unwanted and dangerous bacteria during the digestion process. Prebiotics do this by feeding the good bacteria—the aforementioned probiotics—that are in your digestive system.

Also, despite the sugar-rich foods pectin is found in, pectin may aid in the lowering of blood sugar, which is great news for diabetics.

It’s considered a miracle acid because of its helping with both diarrhea and constipation; it’s definitely something to help your overall digestive health, allowing for that happy medium in digestion, where you’re not exactly over the top on either side, which is what the body wants in order to function properly.

It’s definitely a miracle food. It certainly makes the cut, because in addition to all of these above-mentioned benefits, it helps battle cancer and is great for overall cardiovascular health.

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In the end, dear readers, pectin is really easy to put into your diet. Who can’t enjoy a nice peanut butter and jam sandwich every now and again?