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apple-cider-337x335I bought my first gallon of apple cider in mid-September and will continue to do so for a couple more months. No other beverage conjures up as many happy childhood memories of fall as drinking cider. I’m not an apple juice drinker, but I do love my cider!

As a rule, I tend not to drink much juice because of the sugar content. I prefer to eat whole fruits and/or veggies to get the maximum amount of health benefits. But it isn’t always easy to get the recommended number of plant foods in my daily diet. One four-ounce serving of apple cider counts as a serving of fruit.

Apple cider is usually made from a blend of different types of apples to give it a nice balance between sweet and tart. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, apples are first ground into pulp and then pressed to extract the juice. The juice quickly oxidizes, giving the cider its deep amber color. Apple cider is made in the cooler months because hot weather hastens fermentation.

Apple cider is not clarified like apple juice, so it still contains its starches and pectins. They are the ingredients that give cider its dark, cloudy color.

Below are some of the health benefits found in apple cider:

Antioxidants

You probably eat a variety of foods to protect your organs, bones, and muscles. Plant foods contain antioxidants, which help protect your cells. Antioxidants prevent or stop cell damage caused by oxidants (because they are “anti” oxidation). Oxidants are free radicals found in the environment as well as produced in your body.

Flavonoids

Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. Diets high in flavonoid-containing foods, like apples, may lower your risk for cancer, neurodegenerative disease, cardiovascular disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

Constipation/Fiber

If you’ve been a frequent cider drinker over the years, you probably remember that cider helps with “regularity.” The small amount of fiber in cider, in combination with the sugar alcohol sorbitol, helps promote regular bowel movements and looser stools.

Pectin

Apples are an excellent source of pectin, and fortunately cider contains just as much as the whole fruit. Pectin helps absorb bad cholesterol in the body.

Where to buy?

Apple cider is found in grocery stores, farm markets, local farms that sell fruit and/or cider from their own orchards and cider mills, as well as some convenience and drug stores. Cider purchased in retail establishments will most likely be pasteurized, whereas you may potentially purchase unpasteurized cider from farms or farm markets. There is a difference in taste between the two types. If you purchase unpasteurized cider, look for the Label Warning Statement**.

WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and, therefore, may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.”

**A warning statement for untreated cider and/or juice products must appear on the label.

 

Written by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

 

Reviewed by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

 

Sources:

http://www.aicr.org/press/health-features/health-talk/2014/dec14/serving-size-juice.html

https://www.farmersalmanac.com/food/2008/09/29/apple-cider-season/

http://www.agri.ohio.gov/FoodSafety/docs/hcomm/food-apple_cider_fs.pdf

 

 

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