It might not be the most exciting drink option -- especially compared to exotic fruit and veggie juice blends -- but apple juice fits well into a balanced diet. Opting for raw juice helps you avoid nutrient loss that can occur during pasteurization and processing, so you'll get a glass that offers most of the same benefits as whole apples. Drink raw apple juice on its own, or use it as a base for smoothies and juice blends.
Natural Sugar for Energy
Raw apple juice comes packed with healthy sugars, including fructose, or fruit sugar. Each 1-cup serving of fresh-pressed raw apple juice offers 38 grams of total carbohydrates, with 28 grams from natural sugars. Your body absorbs the sugar in apple juice and converts it to glucose -- the primary source of energy for your muscles, brain and other tissues.
The sugar in juice absorbs and digests relatively quickly, which makes it a good option for almost-instant energy. If you're looking for more sustained energy, though, you're better off just eating an apple.
Raw apple juice offers ample amounts of vitamin C and serves as a better vitamin C source than pasteurized apple juice. Each serving of raw apple juice contains 13 milligrams of vitamin C -- 21 percent of the daily value -- while an equivalent serving of canned or bottled apple juice provides just 2 milligrams. Getting enough vitamin C keeps your tissues strong by supporting collagen production, and vitamin C from your diet also protects your cells from toxic free radicals.
Apples come loaded with beneficial compounds called phenols, which are concentrated in and around the skin of the fruit. If you make raw apple juice from whole apples, with the peel included, you'll get a juice rich in these same beneficial compounds. The phenolic compounds in apples offer antioxidant protection -- which means they neutralize toxic free radicals -- and they're linked to a lower risk of type-2 diabetes and heart disease, explains the Linus Pauling Institute. Red delicious apples are the richest sources of antioxidants, explains the the institute, so choose these to make your juice.
Using Raw Apple Juice
Because raw apple juice has not gone through bacteria-killing pasteurization, you'll need to be mindful of food safety to avoid food-borne illness. If possible, drink raw apple juice immediately after it's pressed to avoid contamination. If you're purchasing raw juice, make sure you store it in the fridge and drink it by the best-buy date.
Because of its relatively mild flavor, raw apple juice can act as a base for juices and smoothies. Blend the juice with spinach, kale and frozen pineapple for a healthful smoothie, or combine it with beet and carrot juice for a rich, earthy juice blend.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Apples Raw With Skin
- HealthAliciousNess: Apples Raw With Skin
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Apple Juice, Canned or Bottled
- Iowa State University Extension: Carbohydrates
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin C
- Antioxidants: Phenolic Compounds in Apple (Malus x Domestica Borkh.): Compounds Characterization and Stability During Postharvest and After Processing
- Linus Pauling Institute: Why Apples Are Healthful
- Photo Credit HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images