Apple juice is a sweet and natural drink, preparing it at home with fresh and organically grown fruit ensures that there are no preservatives, dyes and above all that it has only the sugars naturally present in the apple.
As an ancient proverb suggests “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. The apple, although it is available all year round, is an autumn fruit that begins its ripening at the end of August. This fruit is appreciated for its flavor and nutritional characteristics that allow the apple to be classified as a fruit low in calories, with a good amount of fiber and a moderate sugar content.
Apple juice in recent years has become more popular especially for its beneficial properties determined by the presence of antioxidant molecules such as vitamin C and phytocompounds, such as flavonoids and polyphenols. Like other fruit juices, apple juice is mainly composed of water and sugars, as fiber is lost during the juice extraction processes. Therefore, even if apple juice can be included in the diet of a healthy person who does not have particular pathologies, it is right to remember that the benefits of the whole fruit are greater.
Apple juice: properties and benefits
Apple juice is a pleasant drink that has a moderate caloric intake, on average 100 ml of juice provides 46 calories mainly from carbohydrates, in particular simple sugars (9.62 g per 100 ml). This juice also contains mineral salts: potassium, calcium and phosphorus; as well as vitamin C, B vitamins, carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin and antioxidant molecules from which the beneficial properties of this drink derive.
✓ Apple juice and cancer prevention
Among the most interesting beneficial properties of apple juice reported in scientific literature there is certainly its antitumor action. In particular, a study highlighted that polyphenolsof apple juice hinder the duplication of colon cancer cells by preventing the growth of the tumor mass. Also in this study, it was observed that polyphenols acted on some proteins that are also targets of some anticancer drugs assuming that these compounds present in the juice have a preventive effect, a hypothesis that however needs further studies to be confirmed.
✓ Benefits of apple juice on memory
The presence of antioxidant molecules such as vitamin C, polyphenols (in particular chlorogenic acid) and flavonoids (in particular quercetin) determine the ability to reduce oxidative stress which seems useful above all in protecting brain functions. Specifically, research has shown that apple juice alleviates oxidative damage and cognitive decline in mice. Research suggests that apple juice increases the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain resulting in a potential improvement in memory skills.
✓ Apple juice and cholesterol
The action of polyphenols also seems to be useful for cholesterol control, in particular LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol). A study found that consuming cloudy apple juice tends to reduce the blood concentration of LDL cholesterol. Cloudy apple juice also contains a small percentage of fiber, pectin, which is not present in clear apple juice. Therefore, this action to improve the lipid profile is to be attributed both to the polyphenols and to the presence of pectin.
✓ Apple juice and eye health
As we have anticipated, apple juice contains lutein and zeaxanthin or natural fat-soluble pigments that contribute to good eye health. In particular, lutein is accumulated in the macula and contributes to its integrity and health, while zeaxanthin supports the retina by stabilizing the retinal membranes, helping to make them more resistant to damage caused by light.
✓ Apple juice as a source of energy
Apple juice also contains some vitamins of group B which are overall useful for the metabolism of nutrients, in particular pantothenic acid is involved in the metabolism of fats, cholesterol and Coenzyme A, the latter is an essential component in the energy production and transformation.
When and how much apple juice to drink to get benefits
A good time to take apple juice is in the morning, at breakfast or as a mid-morning snack, in this way you can benefit from the properties of apple juice and use sugars for energy throughout the day.
Like other fruit juices, especially if it is an industrial product, apple juice also falls into the category of foods with a high glycemic index, therefore to reduce the glycemic response it is preferable to combine apple juice with a handful of almonds which, thanks due to their fat and protein content, they avoid blood sugar peaks as they delay the digestive process and therefore also the release of sugar into the blood. The presence of simple sugars and its digestibility make this juice an ideal snack before a workout.
Studies do not accurately indicate the amount of apple juice to be taken to obtain the benefits, therefore a daily consumption of a glass (125-150 ml) per day could be the right compromise to enjoy the benefits but without exceeding the daily intake of sugars.
In this regard, it is right to remember that apple juice, especially packaged one, is low in fiber and therefore cannot replace all the portions of fruit that should be taken during the day. Therefore, we invite you to carefully read the following chapters to prepare a natural apple juice at home, without added sugars and preservatives and above all to learn how to choose a packaged apple juice that has good nutritional characteristics.
Apple juice: recipe for making it at home
Preparing apple juice at home is certainly the best choice to have a drink that is natural, without the addition of sugars and preservatives. In addition, the numerous varieties of apples on the market allow you to create juices with always new aromas. The methods for making apple juice are many; you can use the extractor or the blender, our recommendation is not to subject the juice to heat treatments to avoid the loss of vitamins and antioxidant molecules.
1. Prepare the apple juice with the blender
This recipe is very simple and affordable for everyone because it includes very few ingredients and the use of the blender that we all have at home now. The ingredients to prepare the apple juice for 4 people are: 250 g of organic apples, 250 ml of water and the juice of half a lemon.
The preparation requires a few steps: you start by cutting the apples to deprive them of the central core, then, once reduced to cubes, they are placed in the blender jug with the water and the juice of half a lemon. At this point, blend everything until a liquid and uniform mixture is obtained.
Leaving the peels allows you to obtain a fuller-bodied juice, but also richer in antioxidants and, above all, in fiber which improves the sense of satiety. For the little ones, who usually prefer a more liquid and homogeneous juice, it is possible to remove the peel from the apples before blending all the ingredients. Finally, if you want to make the apple juice more aromatic, you can add spices and aromas, for example ground cinnamon or fresh ginger.
2. Make the apple juice with the extractor
Another method to make apple juice at home, without added sugars and sweeteners, involves the use of the extractor, a very useful appliance that allows you to extract the juice from fruit and vegetables while leaving the organoleptic and nutritional properties unaltered. In this case, the juice will be clearer as much of the fibrous pulp will be retained by the extractor. If you want an even clearer juice, you can filter it further with a narrow mesh strainer.
To make apple juice for 4 people with the extractor you need 600 g of organically grown apples. Using the extractor the preparation is very simple, just wash the apples, remove the core and then cut them into slices. At this point it will be sufficient to insert the sliced apples into the machine that will perform the juice extraction operation. The juice can be drunk plain or it can be diluted with water or flavored with lemon and / or orange juice.
With the extractor you can have fun and try many combinations, for example a recipe that you can try is the apple, carrot and lemon extract. The ingredients to use are: 3 apples, 2 carrots and a lemon (all from organic farming and untreated). Prepare the fruit and vegetables: wash the carrots and remove the ends, then cut them into chunks. Wash the apples, remove the core and cut into slices. Finally, peel the lemon, removing the white part and cut it in half. At this point, operate the extractor and gradually add fruit and vegetables. Mix the juice obtained and if you like it, dilute it with water.
Apple juice: how to store it correctly
To enjoy all the aromas and flavors it is preferable to consume the freshly prepared apple juice, but it is possible to keep it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours by putting it in a glass bottle. To prevent the juice from oxidizing, especially if you made it with a blender, it is preferable to filter it to improve its conservation and add lemon juice or even vitamin C powder (about a teaspoon every 500 ml of juice).
Alternatively, another very simple preservation method, but more suitable for apple juice made with the extractor, is to freeze the juice after placing it in glass bottles. This method allows you to keep the drink for about 15 days and to be able to drink it, just remove it from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator the day before.
Apple juice: a conscious buying guide
The packaged product is often more practical and faster and is the reason why many people prefer to buy industrial apple juice, which however contains a lower quantity of antioxidant molecules since it is pasteurized, i.e. subjected to a heat treatment that eliminates microorganisms and inactivates. enzymes naturally present in fruit, necessary to increase the storage time.
Despite this, we try to understand how to choose a good product by reading the list of ingredients and nutritional values. Certainly choosing an organic product is already a good start, but beyond this, the first advice is to choose a juice that is without added sugars which usually says “100% fruit juice”. This statement indicates that the juice consists only of fruit and at most there is the addition of vitamin C to improve its conservation.
Obviously, it is a good idea to always read the list of ingredients, therefore, if we are looking for a juice that has only the sugars naturally present in fruit, we should not find “sugar” among the ingredients.
Other terms that may indicate the presence of added sugars are: sucrose, glucose, glucose syrup, fructose, fructose syrup, corn syrup, maltose, grape sugar. In addition to sugars it is good to check that there are no polyols (such as matitol or xylitol) or artificial sweeteners (such as saccharin, aspartame etc…).
Reading the list of ingredients it is right to note if there are food additives such as thickeners, dyes, flavorings or preservative agents. They are usually indicated with an abbreviation consisting of the letter “E” and three numbers (for example E951 indicates aspartame). If some additives may be necessary for storage, such as ascorbic acid or citric acid indicated respectively with the initials E300 and E330, it is always preferable to opt for products that do not contain them.
For completeness of information, we recommend that you also pay attention to the nutritional table of apple juices on the market. An apple juice with no added sugar has an intake of simple sugars of about 9-10 g per 100 ml of product. Furthermore, reading the nutritional table allows you to understand if polyols are present, in fact, these are listed in the table below for carbohydrates and simple sugars.
As for the market price of apple juice, on average this has an average price of about 9-10 USD per liter, keep in mind that the price can vary especially if you choose an organic product, without preservatives and if produced by small companies niche.
Contraindications of apple juice
Apple juice is generally a safe drink that can be safely consumed by a person in good health and who does not take drugs, in particular it is a good drink for sportsmen who can take advantage of its sugar, water and mineral salts content in the snack pre-workout.
Apple juice can be drunk, in moderation, even during pregnancy, but we reiterate that it is preferable, especially in this case, to choose a homemade apple juice or a product without additives, added sugars and artificial sweeteners. However, in the case of gestational diabetes, apple juice is one of the contraindicated foods since its natural sugar content can contribute to worsening the clinical picture.
The good quantity of sugars present in apple juice makes this drink also contraindicated in all those metabolic diseases for which it is necessary to reduce the sugar intake, such as: type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertriglyceridemia.
Drinking apple juice is also not recommended for those allergic to apples. Although apple allergy is not very common, there are often cross-allergies, or allergic reactions triggered by causes that do not seem related to each other. In particular, those allergic to birch pollen may have an allergic reaction to apple as well.
The last contraindication to taking apple juice is for people taking antihistamines, especially phenoxifenadine, as apple juice can reduce the absorption, and therefore the effect, of the drug.