Apple Juice – Benefits, How to Make & Nutritional Value
Apple juice is one of the most popular and widely available fruit juices in the world due to its impressive health benefits and dense nutritional value. By definition, this juice is made through the pressing of apples, of which there are hundreds of varieties in the world. McIntosh apples are some of the most common types of apples used to create this delicious juice, particularly in the west, although China is the largest producer of apples in the world. It takes two medium-sized apples to make one cup of apple juice, which is why these fruits are grown in such huge numbers. After the apples are pressed, most juices are further filtered or pasteurized, which helps to remove any particulate matter, resulting in a thinner consistency of the final juice. Apple cider, which is often confused with apple juice, is the unfiltered and unpasteurized liquid initially pressed from apples, in addition to being fermented.
That being said, too much apple juice can cause gastrointestinal problems, ranging from diarrhea to constipation, as well as excessive flatulence and a higher risk of kidney stones. This is due to the presence of oxalates, which may exacerbate pre-existing kidney problems. With a relatively high sugar content, it is important to drink apple juice in moderation, particularly diabetic patients, but 1-2 glasses per day can deliver some great health benefits.
Benefits of Apple Juice
The many excellent health benefits of apple juice include improving digestion, lowering blood pressure, preventing cancer, detoxifying the body, increasing hydration, stimulating the immune system, aiding cognition, strengthening the metabolism, helping with weight loss and supporting respiratory health.
Immune System: Apple juice has a notable amount of vitamin C, which is a key component of the body’s immune system. Vitamin C not only stimulates the immune system, but also functions as an antioxidant compound that can prevent oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.
Cancer: The polyphenolic compounds, procyanids and quercetin present in apple juice are extremely powerful antioxidants that can help the body fight the effects of free radicals. By eliminating oxidative stress, apple juice has been shown in numerous studies to lower the risk of colon, breast and skin cancer.
Blood Pressure: Potassium is found in higher concentrations than any other mineral in apple juice, which is good news for your heart health. Potassium is a vasodilator, which means it can help to lower tension in your arteries and blood vessels, relieving pressure and strain on the cardiovascular system as a whole.
Weight Loss: The low levels of fiber and the dense nutrient content of apple juice make it quite filling, along with its high water content. This can help to reduce your appetite and release satiety hormones in the body (leptin), thus preventing overeating and helping with weight-loss goals.
Hydration: As mentioned earlier, apple juice is very high in water, so not only are you getting a burst of excellent nutrients, but also a refreshing dash of water into your diet. This can help everything from kidney function and cognition to toxicity levels and energy.
Alzheimer’s: Antioxidants do more than protect against cancer; they also prevent oxidative stress in other parts of the body, such as the brain. Studies have shown that the antioxidants present in this fruit juice can lower your risk of neurological disease, particularly Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Digestion: One of the lesser known substances in apples is called malic acid, which can improve the digestive rate and support liver function. In combination with fiber and other stimulating minerals in apple juice, this juice can quickly relieve symptoms of constipation, cramping, bloating and diarrhea.
Metabolism: Long-term research has linked the consumption of apple juice with smaller waistlines, lower levels of body fat, lower cholesterol levels, lesser chance of developing diabetes and lower blood pressure, all of which are risk factors known as metabolic syndrome. For this reason, apple juice can help optimize your metabolism and protect your heart.
Detoxify the Body: As mentioned, malic acid can improve liver function, which will speed the process of toxins being eliminated from the body. When combined with the large amount of water in this juice, this can stimulate urination and promote the release of more excess salts and fats that the body doesn’t need.
Respiratory Health: There are certain anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic substances found in apple juice that can soothe the respiratory system and decrease irritation in the throat and lungs, helping to relieve asthma attacks and prevent respiratory infections.
How to Prepare Apple Juice
This juice is available all over the world, but some people do prefer to make their own apple juice. Without a true pasteurization machine, most people make something between apple cider and apple juice, but it is still delicious and relatively easy to prepare!
- 8-10 apples
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
Step 1 – Clean the apples thoroughly, but there is no need to remove the peel, as many of the nutrients can be extracted from the peel.
Step 2 – Core and slice each apple into 12-15 chunks, increasing surface area to make the breakdown process easier.
Step 3 – Fill a large pot with the apples and enough water to cover about half the apples.
Step 4 – Slowly warm the water, and eventually bring it to a low simmer. This should cause the apples to begin breaking down.
Step 5 – Occasionally mash the apples to speed up the process.
Step 6 – Gradually strain the apple mash through a strainer into a jar or other container. Press the mash to extract as much juice as possible. Do not discard the mash, as they can be used to make applesauce.
Step 7 – For a very thin consistency, you can then filter the apple juice again through cheesecloth or coffee filters, although many people prefer a bit more pulp in their apple juice.
Step 8 – Chill the juice, serve and enjoy!
Nutritional Value of Apple Juice
Apple juice retains many of the key nutrients of apples, including vitamin C and various B vitamins, as well as many different minerals, such as magnesium, iron, calcium, manganese and copper. Some of the fiber is also retained in apple juice, as are the phytochemicals, flavonols and procyanids. A single cup also represents about 10% of your daily required carbohydrates, thanks to the natural sugars found in apple juice. Potassium is the most notable mineral in this juice, with a single serving delivering roughly 7% of your daily required intake.