Chemical Components of an Apple

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Chemicals in apples produce health benefits.
Chemicals in apples produce health benefits. (Image: Dougal Waters/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Apples, a common fruit, consist of chemical components known as phytochemicals, a term that encompasses numerous chemicals. Apples produce these chemicals to protect themselves from disease. Phytochemicals possess several properties: antioxidants, cell protection, antibacterial action and the ability to bind to cell walls. A subgroup known as flavonoids contains many chemicals with health benefits.

Quercetin

Part of the subgroup flavonoids, this plant pigment found in many fruits, including apples, provides color. It exhibits antioxidant qualities in apples and in test tubes, but it is unclear if that translates to humans after consuming apples. Many other health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, fighting cancer, easing arthritis and allergies, have been proven in the laboratory and with animals, but like antioxidants, the evidence with humans remains unproven.

Pectin

Found in the skin of the apple, pectin holds the fruit together. A breakdown of pectin manifests itself when the skin of the apple becomes soft. Because of its ability to bind, pectin's uses include a thickening agent in jams and jellies. For humans, it serves as fiber when you eat the whole apple. According to Science Toys, the chemical formula consists of a long chain of oxygen and hydrogen.

Catechin

Cathechin, another flavonoid found in apples, is a phytochemical linked to lung capacity improvement, although the evidence is far from clear. This chemical does provide health benefits, with further research necessary to determine the extent of the benefits.

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