Health Benefits of Apple Juice and Side Effects

health benefits of apple juice

Whole apples are healthy. However, their hydrating quality increases when you make juice from it. The juice keeps certain plant compounds, but it decreases the additional benefits of whole apples such as fiber. Here are the health benefits of apple juice and side effects.

Supports Heart Health

Plant compounds in apple juice such as polyphenols may be beneficial for heart health. Polyphenols can prevent oxidisation and build-up of LDL (bad) cholesterol in your arteries. The study associates higher levels of oxidized LDL with increased risk of stroke and heart attack (1).

One research found that when healthy adults consumed 375 ml of pure apple juice daily for 6 weeks, their LDL (bad) cholesterol was 20 percent more oxidation-resistant than at the beginning of the study (2).

In addition, when healthy women drank 310 ml of pure apple juice, their blood antioxidant activity increased by almost 11 percent within 1 hour of drinking the juice compared to a placebo drink (3).

This boost in antioxidant activity means greater potential for heart disease protection. Still, there is a need for more human studies to confirm these health benefits.

Human studies show that drinking apple juice will increase antioxidant activity in your blood and help protect against oxidation LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Protects Your Brain as You Age

Preliminary studies suggest that apple juice can support mental health and brain function as you age. Some of this protection may be because of the antioxidant activity found in the juice. These antioxidants can protect your brain from damage caused by unstable molecules, called free radicals (4, 5).

They gave older mice daily apple juice equivalent to 2-3 cups (480-720 ml) for a human in a series of studies. When the mice ingested the juice for one month, they performed significantly better on labyrinth-based memory tests than a control group that did not receive the juice (6).

It preserved acetylcholine levels, a nerve messenger essential for memory and good mental health, and that appears to decrease in aging as in the control group in this study (7).

Memory and problem solving, however, have not improved. There is a need for further human studies to confirm the benefits of apple juice for brain function and to clarify how much would be needed for this (8).

Animal studies observe that, during aging, apple juice can help protect memory and other aspects of brain health.

Supports Hydration

Apple juice tastes good, and it is 88 percent water. This makes consumption easy, particularly for those who are at increased risk of dehydration. In addition, for one-year-old children who are dehydrated, some pediatrists suggest a mixture of half juice, half water (9, 10, 11).

In a study of moderately dehydrated children with diarrhea and vomiting, those provided diluted apple juice were 6.5 percent less likely to need fluids via their veins (12).

Even though electrolyte drinks are specifically designed for rehydration, some kids don’t like the taste and will not drink them. They are fairly costly too. Diluted apple juice is a handy and pleasant alternative for children and adults (13).

Be sure to drink diluted juice to rehydrate, as the high sugar content of pure juice can pull excess water into your gut and cause diarrhea, particularly during recovery from illness (14, 15).

Medicinal electrolyte beverages are also recommended for more serious cases of dehydration. While the amount of potassium in apple juice is like electrolyte drinks, it has little sodium, which when you’re sick is often lost by body fluids (16, 17).

Apple juice has a high water content and tastes fine, making it a good hydrating option. When using it to rehydrate after an infection, mix half water to it to prevent side effects.

Contains Plant Compounds

Apples are rich in vegetable compounds, especially polyphenols. Although most of these compounds are in the peel, it keeps some in the juice from the apple flesh (18).

These plant compounds can prevent inflammation and oxidative damage to your body cells. Both inflammation and oxidative damage are underlay medical conditions, like certain cancers and heart disease (19).

In one study, healthy men drank 2/3 cup (160 ml) apple juice, then scientists collected their blood. Within 30 minutes of drinking the juice, oxidative damage in their blood was suppressed, and this effect continued for up to 90 minutes (20).

For more polyphenols, choose cloudy apple juice which contains pulp instead of clear juice which removes the pulp. A study showed that cloudy apple juice contained up to 62% more polyphenols than clear juice (21, 22).

Most store-bought apple juice is clear in appearance, which means you can see through it easily. The cloudy form of organic varieties is more common.

Apple Juice Downsides

The apples juice results in the loss of some advantages and potentially causes safety risks.

Low in Vitamins and Minerals

A 1-cup (240-ml) serving of apple juice is not an excellent source of any vitamin or mineral, which means it does not include at least 10 percent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for any micronutrient (23).

That said, it is normal to add vitamin C or ascorbic acid. For certain cases, apple juice is fortified to include vitamin C per serving with 100 percent or more of the RDI (24).

Apple juice contains about 2 percent of the RDI per serving for this vitamin when not fortified. For example, a medium apple averages 9 percent of RDI (25).

If you eat a variety of whole fruits and vegetables, you can easily meet your vitamin C quota without having to drink fortified juice.

Low in Fiber and High in Sugar

Choose varieties of 100 percent juice rather than drinks that are a mixture of apple juice, added sugar and water. Nearly all calories in 100% apple juice come from carbohydrates. These are mainly from fructose and glucose (26).

A 1-cup (240-ml) juice serving-clear or cloudy-only supplies 0.5 grams of fiber. For instance, for this nutrient, a medium apple with the peel has 4.5 grams of fiber or 18 percent of RDI (27, 28).

Fiber helps improve digestion, and protein, and fat, and facilitates a more gradual increase in blood sugar. The high sugar and low fiber combination in the juice can spike your blood sugar. If you are drinking apple juice, combine it with something that contains protein and healthy fat to reduce its blood sugar impact (29).

For example, when healthy adults consumed an apple juice, toast, and peanut butter breakfast, their increase in blood sugar was 30 percent lower than that of the same meal without peanut butter (30).

The high sugar and low fiber in the apple juice can spike your blood sugar levels. Therefore, consume apple juice with some protein and fat.

May Cause Tooth Decay

Drinking apple juice can cause tooth decay. In your mouth, bacteria eat the sugars in juice and produce acids that can erode the enamel of the tooth and cause cavities (31).

Apple juice was found to erode tooth enamel the most in a test-tube study that assessed the dental effects of 12 unique types of fruit juice (32).

When you drink apple juice, stop swimming it around. The longer your teeth are exposed to sugar, the higher the chances are of developing cavities. Using a straw will also lower the tooth decay risk (33, 34).

Apple juice can cause tooth decay. Therefore, by using straw you can minimize the risk.

Contributes in Weight Gain

A 1-cup (240-ml) serving has 114 calories whereas an apple of medium size has 95 calories (35, 36).

The apple juice can be consumed faster than an entire apple, which can cause you to take in enormous quantities of calories over a brief time.

Juice isn’t particularly good to relieve hunger or make you feel full. That may lead to excess calories consumption (37).

In one study, they gave adults an entire calorie-based apple, applesauce, or apple juice in equal amounts. Whole apples had best fulfilled their hunger. Juice has been the least filling, even adding fiber to it (38).

Compared to eating whole apples, the risk of consuming too many calories and gaining weight from drinking apple juice is greater.

The bottom line

Apple juice can help rehydrate when you’re sick. Its disease-fighting plant compounds can also protect your heart and brain as you age. However, apple juice is not very filling compared to whole apples, nor does it offer a lot of fibre, vitamins or minerals. Even if you like it, use organic pulp juice to get more beneficial plant compounds. Be sure to enjoy this juice in moderation, due to its high calorie content.

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Naeem Durrani BSc
Naeem Durrani is a freelance journalist who specializes in health and wellness innovation. His interests include medical research, nutrition, and the scientific evidence around effective wellness practices that empower people to positively transform their lives.
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