- Apples are one of the healthiest fruits. However, the juice made from them is not as nutritious.
- Diluted apple juice works well as a rehydration drink, for example during diarrhoea.
- The polyphenols contained in this drink also support the function of our brain and heart, protecting against dangerous diseases
- Apple juice also has quite a few disadvantages. It contains large amounts of sugar, which can cause weight gain
- It is advisable to choose organic juices, because the non-organic ones may contain pesticides, which are particularly dangerous for children
Advantages of apple juice
Hydrates the body
Apple juice consists of up to 88 per cent water. It is therefore a good idea to drink it when you are thirsty. Doctors also recommend giving it to sick children. This works especially well for young patients with diarrhoea and vomiting. However, remember to dilute the juice with water. This is because it contains a lot of sugar, which can exacerbate diarrhoea.
Contains beneficial plant compounds
Apples are mainly rich in polyphenols. These are mainly found in the skin of the fruit. Polyphenols protect our body cells from inflammation and oxidative damage. Both of these processes can lead to the development of chronic heart disease and cancer.
In one study, healthy men drank two-thirds of a glass (160 ml) of apple juice and then researchers took blood from them. Oxidative damage in their blood was suppressed within 30 minutes after consuming the drink. The effect lasted for up to 90 minutes.
Cloudy apple juices are the most rich in polyphenols. This is because they contain pulp within them. Studies have shown that cloudy apple juice contains up to 62 per cent more polyphenols than clear juice.
Supports heart function
As we mentioned above, apple juice contains beneficial plant compounds, led by polyphenols. These have an exceptionally good effect on our heart function. Among other things, they prevent LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol from oxidising and accumulating in the arteries. This reduces our risk of heart attack and stroke.
One study observed that when healthy adults drank one and a half glasses (375 ml) of clear apple juice daily for six weeks, their ‘bad’ cholesterol was 20 per cent more resistant to oxidation compared to the start of the study. What’s more, when the healthy women drank around 310 ml of such a drink, the antioxidant activity of their blood increased by almost 11 per cent within an hour.
Supports brain function
Preliminary research suggests that apple juice may support brain function and mental health, which begin to decline with age. Again, this is due to the polyphenols contained in apples. This is because they protect our brains from the effects of free radicals.
In a series of studies, elderly mice were given apple juice daily, equivalent to 480-720 ml for humans. When the animals consumed it for a month, they were noticed:
- significantly improved performance in memory tests,
- stable levels of acetylcholine in the brain, a nerve transmitter that is important for memory and good mental health and which tends to decrease with age,
- stopping the growth of beta-amyloid protein fragments in the brain, which are associated with brain damage in Alzheimer’s disease.
It is also worth noting that when Alzheimer’s patients drank around 240 ml of apple juice per day for a month, their behavioural and psychological symptoms – such as anxiety, restlessness and false beliefs – improved by 27 per cent. What did not improve in them included memory and problem-solving coping.
Disadvantages of apple juice
May contribute to weight gain
Apple juice cannot be consumed without limitation. There are around 114 kcal in 240 ml of this drink. By comparison, a medium apple has around 95. The trap is that we can drink the juice faster than we can eat the fruit. Therefore, it is easy to consume a little more of it. However, it should be noted that apple juice will not satisfy our hunger. Although we will take in a lot of calories, we will still feel like eating something. Experts recommend that we consume a maximum of one glass of apple juice per day.
Contains few vitamins and minerals
It may be surprising to some, but apple juice is less nutritious than the fruit from which it is made. One glass of this drink does not even provide us with 10 per cent of the recommended daily intake of any vitamin or mineral. This is why some manufacturers add vitamin C to it.
Contains a lot of sugar and little fibre
If you are already reaching for apple juice, choose one that is 100 per cent natural. Nevertheless, it should be noted that almost all the calories in this drink come from carbohydrates – mainly fructose and glucose. These are two naturally occurring sugars.
Interestingly, however, a cup of apple juice provides only 0.5 g of fibre. For comparison: a medium apple with skin contains 4.5 g. Here it is also worth highlighting one of the dangers of drinking apple juice. Because it contains a lot of sugar and little fibre, it can raise blood glucose levels. Therefore, diabetics in particular should be careful with it.
Can cause tooth decay
Drinking fruit juice carries the risk of tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth consume the sugars in the juice and produce acids that can destroy tooth enamel. The results of some test-tube studies are worth quoting here. They showed that apple juice was the most destructive to tooth enamel among other fruit juices.
May be contaminated with pesticides
If you drink non-organic juice, another problem is pesticide contamination. These are chemicals that are used to protect crops from insects, weeds and mould. When the US Department of Agriculture tested 379 samples of inorganic, 100 per cent apple juice, about half of them contained detectable levels of at least one pesticide. Here, it is also worth noting that children are more likely to be exposed to them than adults. Therefore, if your little one likes to drink this juice, it is best to choose the organic one.