In your quest to life a more healthy lifestyle, it is important to start with little steps first. Something as simple as cutting back on sugary sodas and replacing it with a more natural source of sugar is something that is easy achievable. With that in mind, one of the more popular juices that can really give your diet a boost is that of the apple. Whether you throw a couple of them into your own juice extractor, or you pick up a bottle at the grocery store, apple juice packed with several nutrients that can positively impact your health.
Everyone loves a glass of crisp cold apple juice from fresh-squeezed fruit. However, the benefits of apple juice go beyond the sweet taste, ranging from preventing deadly diseases to providing you with essential fiber for weight management. In addition to fiber from the peels, unfiltered apple juice contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that improve your metabolism as well as protecting you from chronic health conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Compared to other fruits commonly consumed by Americans, apples have been ranked second for highest antioxidant content. Furthermore, apples have the highest number of free phenolic compounds, which means they are easy to absorb as they are not bound to other compounds in the apple.
Don’t Forget The Pulp
Fruits (and fruit juice) are most nutritious when taken whole as the peels contain a majority of the nutrients in the fruit. Unfiltered apple juice is rich in polyphenols, which protect you from illnesses while slowing the aging process. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, more than a third of the fruit’s beneficial compounds are found in the peels, including 80 percent of quercetin – one of the main polyphenols in apples. Clear apple juice is however lower in these essential nutrients. Also, the fiber in the peels keep weight gain in check while improving your overall gut health.
Protection from chronic diseases
Given the high amount of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, apples are the best choice of fruit for anyone seeking to avert chronic diseases. The polypenols in apple juice have been shown to protect brain cells against oxidative stress, and may play an important role in slowing the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Also, consuming at least three servings of apples and other fruits such as grapes and blueberries has been found to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 7 percent. This may be attributed to the fact that apples are excellent blood sugar regulators as they reduce the absorption of glucose in the digestive tract, stimulate secretion of insulin in your pancreas, and facilitate uptake of glucose from your bloodstream.
Consumption of apple juice also keeps cancer and heart disease at bay, thanks to the numerous anti-inflammatory compounds. Asthmatics may also benefit from apples as studies have shown that quercetin significantly reduces the production of histamines, which are the main cause of allergic flare-ups that result to asthma attacks.
When not to take apple juice
Although apples and apple juice protect you from a myriad chronic conditions, you should take them with caution, especially if you are insulin/leptin resistant. Similar to most fruits, apples contain fructose, which may cause certain chronic health conditions when taken in excess. Apples contain a relatively high amount of fructose, approximately 9.5 grams in a medium sized apple, while apple juice will contain more. For people who are insulin/leptin resistant (about 80 percent of Americans), it would be advisable to limit your fructose intake to 15 grams, which amounts to one apple and a few blueberries. However, you can find a way to take more apple juice by timing your intake. Taking a glass of apple juice after a meal may have a different effect compared to taking it after a workout. After a meal, the apple juice is likely to lead to weight gain as you add calories and sugar to your bloodstream. In the latter case, however, the apple will replenish your glycogen stores, which were depleted during the workout.
Since most of the antioxidants are contained in the apple peels, you will want to consume your apple juice cloudy and unfiltered. For this reason, ensure that you get organic apples which have not been grown using pesticides and other harmful chemicals. If you have to buy them, briefly soak them in a 10 percent vinegar solution to help remove some pesticides and eliminate bacteria on the surface. However, if you have space to grow a few apple trees, you can use organic agricultural practices to keep you safe from chemicals that may counteract the many health benefits of apples and apple juice.
Whether you want to improve your health, need a post-workout drink, or simply want to fight off the summer heat, apple juice is a terrific choice. If you can juice the apple yourself in juicing machine, the impact will be even greater.