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This time of year is prime for a tasty cup of cold cider… or even a steaming mug of hot mulled cider. Did you know that cider can be good for you? That’s right, apple cider is packed with nutrition and contains compounds that have many health benefits.

Basket of apples with mug of hot cider

What is the difference between apple juice and apple cider? While both apple juice and apple cider come from juiced apples, cider has bits of apple pulp in it and may or may not be pasteurized. Apple juice has been filtered and pasteurized to kill bacteria.

Cider is packed with nutrition. At only 120 calories in an 8 ounce glass, it has several vitamins and minerals, such as: Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

Apple cider contains antioxidants in the form of polyphenols, a plant-based compound. These antioxidants can lower the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease by helping the body to fight against free radicals and cell damage. Polyphenols may also help to decrease inflammation in the body.

Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. Cider contains health-promoting phytonutrients that can  slow the oxidation process of bad cholesterol. This cholesterol contributes to buildup of plaque in arteries which increases the risk for heart disease.

Improve regularity. Because apple cider is not filtered like apple juice, it still contains a good amount of pectin. As a soluble fiber, pectin can help improve regularity and help with constipation or irritable bowel syndrome.

Hydrate. Apple cider is comprised mostly of water so it is easy to drink. You can dilute cider with water to reduce your sugar intake.

There are risks associated with drinking cider that has not been pasteurized. Unpasteurized cider could possibly contain bacteria such as Salmonella or E. coli., especially if the cider was made from apples picked off the ground. Be sure to check the package label for pasteurization. If you are still unsure, you can heat your cider on the stove to a gentle boil, stirring to distribute heat.

For hot spiced cider, see this recipe from University of Illinois Extension:

  • 1 gallon naturally sweet apple cider
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1 Tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon whole allspice

Tie cinnamon, cloves and allspice together in cheesecloth or use a coffee filter tied with string. Combine cider and brown sugar in a large pot. Add spices. Bring mixture to a slow boil. Then turn heat down and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove spice bag from pot. Serve hot cider in mugs. Spiced Apple Cider may be kept warm in a slow cooker on low setting. Yield 18 servings.

Try a glass of cider and drink to your health!

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu.

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu

Sources:

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