Apple pectin is a rich source of soluble fiber, which plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of disease. The American Heart Association reports that adding soluble fiber to your diet will reduce your risk of heart disease and can reduce your bad cholesterol levels more than following a low-fat diet alone can. Soluble fiber works to lower cholesterol by reducing the amount of it that is absorbed in the intestines, according to the Mayo Clinic. Metabolic syndrome is a term that is given to a group of risk factors that contribute to heart disease, stroke and high blood sugar. Risk factors, listed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, are high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, high cholesterol levels and a large waist circumference. Researchers at the Complutense University in Madrid, Spain, found that when rats with the equivalent of human metabolic syndrome were fed diets that contained apple pectin, they experienced a reduction in blood sugar levels, total cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels and weight. A reduction in one or all of these factors will contribute to a reduction in high blood pressure as well. A healthy intestinal tract contains both good and bad bacteria, with the optimal situation being where the good bacteria far outnumber the bad. The job of intestinal bacteria is to help us digest food, absorb nutrients and keep viruses and bad bacteria in check. The March 19, 2010, issue of “Anaerobe” reports a study in which subjects’ bacterial content in fecal matter was checked at the beginning of the trial period and then again at the end. The trial involved the subjects eating two apples per day for two weeks. At the end of two weeks, tests showed that the content of bad bacteria in fecal matter had decreased, while the levels of good bacteria had increased. The researchers, from Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University in Tokyo, concluded that increasing apple intake improves the intestinal environment and that it is the apple pectin in particular that helps do the job.