It tastes like picnics enjoyed in the meadows, laughter and joy, we are talking about apple juice, one of the most popular drinks by children but also by adults. It may be because it is fragrant and delicious, it may be that it is easy to make or to find in stores, but apple juice is never lacking in a house. And what about its properties? Is it as healthy as an apple eaten whole? Let's find out more.
Apple juice, properties and differences compared to the whole fruit
Apple juice has properties not very different from those of the whole fruit. In fact, the content of mineral salts, such as potassium, magnesium and phosphorus, is similar (Gerhaeuser et al, Planta Medica, 2008). The polyphenol content, which are antioxidants, is also comparable, but when it comes to fresh apple juice. The juice found on the market, on the other hand, is poorer in these precious substances. Then, the vitamin C content is lower in the juice (Gerhaeuser et al, Planta Medica, 2008). Instead, noteworthy is the presence, both in the juice, especially if unfiltered, and in the whole fruit, of procyanidins, substances with an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, cardioprotective, antiallergic and anti-diabetic action (Rue et al, Phytochem Rev, 2019 ). Quercetin, an antioxidant, is present both in the whole fruit and in the juice. According to studies, the anticancer action observed in apple juice is also due to this substance. In addition, apple juice is made up of almost 90% water and this makes it an excellent drink to combat dehydration, since, having a pleasant taste, it is more readily drunk by children and the elderly (USDA Food Data Central). It is also recommended to give a drink prepared by mixing apple juice and water in equal parts to rehydrate children with a middle level of dehydration (Hartman et al, Am Fam Physician, 2019). Diluting apple juice is an important step and this also applies to adults if they are dehydrated. In fact, the high level of sugars present in apple juice can cause or worsen diarrhea, that increases the dehydration (Ribeiro et al, J Pediatr, 2001).
Apple juice and memory
Drinking two 250ml glasses of apple juice a day has been shown to increase the presence of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain, which, as an effect, has led to an improvement in memory. Not only that, learning ability was also improved (US Apple Association, Aug 2006).
But apple juice does not lower cholesterol
Apple is also appreciated for its precious cholesterol-lowering properties. However, apple juice does not have the same action on cholesterol as the whole fruit. In fact, a research was carried out a few years ago in order to verify the effects on cholesterol of the apple and its juice (Ravn Haren et al, Eur J Nutr, 2013). What emerged was that consuming two apples a day for five months led to a nearly 7% reduction in bad cholesterol, or LDL. Two glasses, about 500ml, of cloudy apple juice, led to a 2% reduction in bad cholesterol while two glasses of filtered apple juice led to an increase in bad cholesterol. The explanation is that the part of the apple that leads to a reduction in cholesterol is given by the fibers, in particular the pectin. Pectin is not present in the juice, especially if filtered.
Unfiltered juice is better
As far as health properties are concerned, unfiltered apple juice is more beneficial. In fact, in this case the cloudy juice retains more fiber but also antioxidants. It has been observed that unfiltered juice was able, in two months, to inhibit cellular degeneration and DNA damage more effectively than filtered juice (Gerhaeuser et al, Planta Medica, 2008). Not only that, the cloudy juice was able, in laboratory experiments, to reduce the markers of colon cancer, while the filtered juice was found to be ineffective (Gerhaeuser et al, Planta Medica, 2008).
Apple juice and body weight
Apple juice is beneficial, but you should never exceed with it. In fact, as with all foods, even apple juice if taken in excessive quantities can cause problems. For example, apple juice is not as filling as a whole apple and this can lead to consuming more calories and therefore increasing weight gain (Flood Obbagy et al, Appetite, 2009).