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Author Jessica White
Jessica White Writer
Updated on Jul 12th, 2024
Fact checked by Valentina Meneghini

What Is Apple Juice Good For? Full 2024 Guide

Apple juice can be a convenient and delicious way to enjoy the health benefits of apples. As the saying goes, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," emphasizing the importance of incorporating more fruit into your diet. Apples are among the most commonly eaten fruits worldwide, but how does apple juice compare to whole apples?

With Valentina Meneghini (Delivery Rank’s certified nutritionist), I’ve delved into the health benefits and drawbacks of apple juice compared to whole apples. Whole apples provide fiber and a sense of fullness, while apple juice offers a more concentrated source of vitamins and minerals.

Including apple juice in your diet can be simple and versatile. Whether you drink it on its own, use it in smoothies, or incorporate it into recipes, there are plenty of ways to enjoy apple juice. Keep reading to discover the benefits of apple juice, how it compares to whole apples, and tips on how to include it in your diet.

The Top Health Benefits of Apple Juice

infographic listing 7 health benefits of apple juice

Apple juice offers a range of health benefits, from supporting heart health to strengthening your immune system¹. Let’s explore the key advantages of including apple juice in your diet and how it can contribute to a healthier lifestyle.

    1. Rehydration After Illness

    Apple juice can be an effective tool for rehydration after illness². Comprising 88% water, it helps replenish fluids lost during sickness. Drinking apple juice can restore hydration levels, especially when diluted to reduce its sugar content. This makes it a gentle option for recovering from dehydration, providing a mild flavor that’s often more palatable when your appetite is low.

      2. Rich in Polyphenols

      Apple juice is rich in polyphenols³, especially when you choose cloudy apple juice. Polyphenols are natural compounds found in plants that act as antioxidants, protecting your cells from damage by free radicals. These antioxidants have several positive effects on the body, including reducing inflammation, improving heart health, and supporting overall well-being.

      Choosing cloudy apple juice maximizes your intake of these beneficial compounds. The less processed nature of cloudy apple juice ensures it retains more of the apple's natural polyphenols and dietary fibers¹, offering superior nutritional value compared to clear apple juice.

        3. Supports Heart Health

        Drinking apple juice, especially cloudy apple juice, can be beneficial for your heart. It contains antioxidants, which help protect your heart by reducing oxidative stress and preventing damage to your blood vessels. These antioxidants, along with other natural compounds in apple juice, can improve cholesterol levels and support overall cardiovascular health¹

        Studies have shown that moderate consumption of apple juice can lower the risk of heart disease. However, it's important to drink it in moderation because of its sugar content, which can have negative effects if consumed excessively. Overall, apple juice can be a heart-healthy addition to your diet when enjoyed in moderation.

          4. May Protect Brain Health

          Apple juice may protect brain health due to its rich antioxidant content. The antioxidant activity of flavonoids and polyphenols, natural compounds found in apples, plays a crucial role in safeguarding your brain from free radicals.

          Image of a model of a brain showing the inner section of the brain

          Flavonoids are a type of polyphenol known for their strong antioxidant properties. They help neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage brain cells and contribute to aging and neurodegenerative diseases.

          Regular consumption of cloudy apple juice can reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's. By protecting brain cells from oxidative stress and inflammation, the antioxidants in apple juice support cognitive function and overall brain health. 

            5. May Help Prevent Cancer

            Apples are associated with cancer prevention due to the beneficial effects of apple polyphenols. Recent studies have found that these natural compounds in apples can help reduce the risk of developing cancer. Processing apples into juice leads to a significant decrease in phenolic compounds, so whole apples are better if you’re looking to maximize the benefits of polyphenols.

            Apple polyphenols and other phytochemicals work in several ways to protect the body. They have been shown to stop the growth of cancer cells in vitro, help trigger the death of harmful cells, and act as powerful antioxidants. These actions help prevent damage to cells that can lead to cancer.

            Research suggests that consuming apples might lower the risk of various types of cancer. While the findings are still early, studies in animals and lab settings have shown promising results. These studies mimic the stages of cancer development and show how apple polyphenols might help at each step.

              6. Promotes Gut Health

              Apple juice can promote gut health by improving gut bacteria to support your microbiome. While specific studies on apple juice are limited, we know that apple juice contains polyphenols, which have a positive impact on gut health.

              Polyphenols are known to influence the balance of gut bacteria¹⁰. They help foster a healthy microbiome by encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria and inhibiting harmful bacteria. This balance is crucial for digestion, immune function¹¹, and overall health.

              However, whole apples provide even more benefits for gut health. In addition to polyphenols, whole apples contain dietary fiber, such as pectin¹², which is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Fiber aids in digestion, which helps regulate bowel movements, and supports a thriving microbiome by serving as food for beneficial bacteria.

                7. May Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

                Cloudy apple juice may help prevent Type 2 diabetes, but moderation is key. Cloudy apple juice contains antioxidants and some pectin, which can protect the body's cells from damage and lead to better blood glucose control. These benefits contribute to reducing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes¹.

                However, apple juice can also be high in sugar and calories, which can raise blood sugar levels and increase the risk of weight gain. It's important for diabetics and those at risk to limit apple juice consumption.

                Nutritionist quote "whole apples still provide more benefits because they also contain fiber like pectin, which helps reduce inflammation and promote overall health"

                Polyphenols in apples play a significant role in preventing Type 2 diabetes¹³. These compounds help reduce oxidative stress, which can decrease the damage to cells caused by aging and reduce the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). By mitigating these effects, apple polyphenols support overall health and can lower the risk of diabetes.

                Eating whole apples is often a better option. Whole apples provide more beneficial polyphenols¹⁴ and antioxidants than apple juice, as these are often greatly removed in the juicing process, but they also include dietary fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and improve digestion. 

                Nutritional Value of Apple Juice

                A single cup of unsweetened apple juice offers a range of beneficial vitamins and minerals. Below are the values given for 1 cup of unsweetened apple juice without added ascorbic acid¹⁵.

                Nutrient

                Value

                % of DV

                Vitamin C

                2.23 mg

                2.5%

                Vitamin B1

                0.052 mg

                4%

                Vitamin B2

                0.042 mg

                3%

                Vitamin B6

                0.045 mg

                3%

                Calcium

                19.8 mg

                <2%

                Potassium

                250 mg

                7%

                Iron

                0.298 mg

                3-4%

                Manganese

                0.184 mg

                8%

                Magnesium

                12.4 mg

                3%

                Although apple juice may not be a major source of these micronutrients, it still holds significant value. It contains beneficial bioactive compounds, like polyphenols¹⁶. Polyphenols are natural compounds found in plants that have antioxidant properties. 

                Author’s Tip: Factor offers a great range of add-ons that can be ordered alongside its prepared meals. Choose from a range of flavor combinations, many of which contain apple. These juices are fantastic for on-the-go hydration and there’s no limit to how many you can order.

                Polyphenols are known for their anti-inflammatory effects, which can support heart health, improve digestion, and enhance brain function. They help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals¹⁷, which are unstable molecules that can lead to chronic diseases and aging. 

                Whole Apples vs. Apple Juice

                Whole apples offer the most comprehensive benefits for your diet¹⁸. They’re packed with fiber, which is essential for digestive health and helps you feel fuller for longer. This fiber can aid in maintaining a healthy weight and regulating blood sugar levels, making whole apples a highly nutritious choice.

                Apple juice, while less nutritious in some aspects, provides a convenient and hydrating option. It can be a quick and easy way to enjoy the taste and some of the benefits of apples, especially when fresh fruit isn't available. One serving of apple juice is more hydrating than 1 serving of whole apples, as there are more apples in a serving of juice, making it a good option for staying hydrated on the go.

                Whole apples should be your primary choice due to their higher fiber content and comprehensive nutrient profile. However, apple juice can be a convenient alternative when you're short on time or need a more hydrating option.

                Clear Apple Juice vs. Cloudy Apple Juice

                Cloudy apple juice is superior to clear apple juice in terms of health benefits. It retains more dietary fiber, and cloudy apple juice contains a higher concentration of phytochemicals¹⁹. The difference between the 2 lies in their processing. 

                Cloudy apple juice contains more of the apple's natural components, such as fiber and polyphenols, which are retained during less intensive processing. These compounds contribute to better cholesterol management and overall health.

                Clear apple juice, on the other hand, undergoes additional filtration that removes these beneficial components. While it may be more visually appealing, clear apple juice lacks the dietary fiber and many phytochemicals found in cloudy juice. 

                Drawbacks of Apple Juice Consumption

                It's important to be aware of the potential drawbacks of apple juice. Consuming apple juice in excess can lead to some health issues, particularly due to its high sugar content and lack of dietary fiber.

                🚫High sugar content: Apple juice contains a high amount of free sugars, which can contribute to weight gain and obesity if consumed in excess²⁰.

                🚫Dental issues²¹: The high sugar and acid content in apple juice can increase the risk of tooth erosion and dental caries²².

                🚫Blood sugar spikes: Apple juice can cause rapid increases in blood sugar levels, which can be problematic for people with diabetes or insulin resistance.

                🚫Lower nutritional value²³: Compared to whole apples, apple juice lacks dietary fiber, reducing its overall nutritional benefits.

                🚫Potential pesticide residue: Non-organic apple juice may contain pesticide residues²⁴, although the risk to human health is generally considered low.

                🚫Overconsumption risks: Drinking too much apple juice can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea²⁵, particularly in young children.

                Creative Ways To Include Apple Juice In Your Diet

                Make Your Own Apple Juice

                Crafting your own apple juice can be a rewarding and health-conscious choice. While a juicer can be handy, you don't necessarily need one. An apple crusher and apple press are excellent tools for extracting juice, giving you more control over the process and the final product.

                image of whole apples next to a pitcher of apple juice with sliced apple in

                Why You Should Be Making Your Own Apple Juice

                There are several benefits to making your own apple juice at home.

                Get Your Kids Involved

                Involving your kids in these activities helps them learn about healthy eating. They’ll also have fun and understand the importance of natural ingredients.

                Image of a child in an orchard eating an apple

                • Attend an apple day: Apple Day events are a fantastic way to introduce children to the wide variety of apples available. At these events, you can sample dozens of different apple varieties and discover how diverse and unique each 1 tastes. It's an educational and fun experience for the whole family.

                • Host an apple pressing day: Invite family and friends over for an apple pressing day. Kids can help out with the process and taste the fresh juice. Make the day even more fun with apple-related activities like apple bobbing, creating the longest peel, or making art with apples.

                • Make apple juice ice pops: Use fresh apple juice and fruit chunks to create refreshing ice pops. Simply pour the juice and fruit into molds and freeze. Alternatively, blend apple juice with ice to make a delicious slushie.

                • Create a sparkling soda: Mix apple juice with soda water to make a refreshing sparkling soda. This is a simple way to add some fizz and excitement to your juice and also dilutes the juice so reduces the free sugar per serving.

                • Make apple juice gummies: To make apple juice gummies, heat apple juice with gelatin until dissolved, pour the mixture into molds, and let it set in the fridge. These homemade gummies are a fun and healthier alternative to store-bought candy.

                • Experiment with juice combinations: Encourage your kids to get creative by mixing apple juice with other fruit juices. Some delicious combinations include apple and pear, apple and cherry, or apple and berry blends. This can be a fun way to discover new flavors together.

                Make Apple Juice Smoothies

                Apple juice smoothies are a delicious and nutritious way to enjoy your apple juice. Mixing apple juice with other fruits and greens enhances the nutritional value, adding essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your drink.

                Adding fruits like bananas, berries, and mangoes boosts the smoothie’s vitamin and antioxidant content. Bananas add potassium and creaminess, while berries provide a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin C. Mangoes contribute vitamins A and C, along with a sweet, tropical flavor²⁶.

                Incorporating greens such as spinach or kale adds even more nutrients²⁷. These leafy greens are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and calcium. They also contain fiber, which aids digestion and helps you feel fuller longer.

                How to Make an Apple Juice Smoothie

                1. Start with 1 cup of apple juice as your base.

                2. Add 1 cup of your favorite fruits. Some great options include bananas, strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, or pineapple.

                3. Include a handful of greens, like spinach or kale, for added nutrients.

                4. Blend until smooth. You can add ice for a colder, thicker smoothie or a splash of water if it’s too thick.

                Here are some ideas for other ingredients you can add to your smoothie.

                • Yogurt: Adds protein and probiotics, which are good for gut health.

                • Oats: Add fiber and make the smoothie more filling, perfect for breakfast.

                • Chia seeds or flaxseeds: Provides omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein.

                • Nut butter: Adds healthy fats and protein, making your smoothie more satisfying.

                Making apple juice smoothies is an excellent way to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, ensuring you get a wide range of nutrients. It’s a versatile and convenient option for a healthy snack or meal on the go.

                Apple Juice Recipe Ideas

                Blue Apron apple crumb pie with caramel and almonds is a Thanksgiving recipe

                Author’s Tip: Apples can be the star of many dishes, and our top meal delivery services use apples in many different ways, including desserts. The apple crumb pie from Blue Apron (above) is a Thanksgiving dish, but that doesn’t mean it can't be eaten throughout the year.

                Here are some creative ways to use apple juice in your recipes:

                • Oatmeal🥣: Replace some or all of the water or milk with apple juice when cooking oatmeal. This adds natural sweetness and a hint of apple flavor, making your morning oats more flavorful and nutritious.

                • Sweetener in baking🧁: Use apple juice as a natural sweetener in baking recipes. Substitute part of the sugar or liquid in cakes, muffins, and breads with apple juice. This reduces the need for added sugars and enhances the overall flavor with a subtle apple taste.

                • Cooking liquid for grains🥘: Use apple juice as a cooking liquid for grains like couscous and quinoa. Replace water or broth with apple juice to infuse the grains with a sweet and tangy flavor, adding a unique twist to your side dishes.

                • Salad dressing🥗: Make a delicious and healthy salad dressing by mixing apple juice with olive oil, vinegar, and your favorite herbs and spices. The apple juice adds sweetness and complexity to the dressing, complementing a variety of salads.

                • Marinades, sauces, and glazes🍗: Use apple juice as a base for marinades, sauces, and glazes for meats, poultry, vegetables, and fish. Its acidity helps tenderize meat while adding a sweet, fruity flavor that enhances the dish and creates a beautiful caramelized finish.

                Apple Juice vs. Other Juices

                Apple juice offers certain health benefits and a refreshing taste. However, other juices like orange, carrot, and greens juice provide different nutritional advantages. Each type of juice can play a role in a balanced diet, offering unique benefits.

                • Orange Juice🍊: A single cup provides about 124 mg of vitamin C, significantly more than apple juice. However, it also contains a similar amount of sugar, with approximately 21 grams per cup. Orange juice is significantly higher in vitamin C, which is good for immune support.

                • Carrot Juice 🥕: This is rich in beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. A cup of carrot juice contains about 94 calories and 9 grams of sugar, making it a lower-sugar option compared to apple juice. Carrot juice also provides essential nutrients like vitamin K and potassium, contributing to eye health and overall well-being.

                • Greens Juice🥬: Typically made from a blend of leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and celery, it’s low in sugar and high in vitamins and minerals. A cup of greens juice contains less sugar and provides significant amounts of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and calcium. 

                FAQ

                What are the benefits of apple juice?

                Apple juice offers several health benefits. It’s rich in antioxidants, such as polyphenols, which support heart health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Additionally, apple juice can aid digestion and support immunity with its vitamin C content.

                Does apple juice hydrate you?

                Yes, apple juice hydrates you, but beware of the sugar content. It’s composed of about 88% water, making it an excellent choice for maintaining hydration. Its natural sugars also provide a quick energy boost, which is beneficial for staying active and alert​​.  

                Is 100% apple juice healthy?

                100% apple juice is healthy when consumed in moderation. It contains essential vitamins and antioxidants without added sugars or artificial ingredients. However, it's important to be mindful of its natural sugar content, which can impact blood sugar levels if consumed excessively.

                What happens if you drink apple juice every day?

                Drinking apple juice every day can provide you with antioxidants and vitamins. However, because it’s high in natural sugars, daily consumption should be moderated to avoid potential weight gain and spikes in blood sugar levels. Incorporating whole apples into your diet is more beneficial for added fiber and overall nutrition​​.

                References

                  1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8879758/

                    2https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27131100/

                      3https://scijournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jsfa.2707

                        4https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29173602/

                          5https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27303602/

                            6https://www.researchgate.net/publication/287840069_Neuroprotective_effects_of_apples_on_cognition_and_Alzheimer%27s_disease

                              7https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1021949816301788

                                8https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-3-5

                                  9https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6423211/

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                                      11https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7362776/

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                                          13https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6014790/

                                            14https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9821871/

                                              15https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173933/nutrients

                                                16https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23271615/

                                                  17https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6160559/

                                                    18https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23271615/

                                                      19https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15140261/

                                                        20https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5916434/

                                                          21https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30713187/

                                                            22https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6640211/

                                                              23https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/2003590/nutrients

                                                                24https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0023643823001895

                                                                  25https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2744021/

                                                                    26https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8746860/

                                                                      27https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7770496/

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