Fall is on its way! In addition to the beautiful leaves, pumpkin patches and trick or treating, the fall season brings about a cornucopia of yummy snacks. Nothing could be more enjoyable than snuggling up in a warm blanket with a hot mug of apple cider on a crisp fall day. However, with the more health conscious trends happening in food and drink production one may ask, is apple cider healthy?
Apple Cider vs. Apple Juice
Yes, apple cider is a healthy treat. The important thing to remember is that while apple cider and apple juice are very different, apple cider is still considered a treat.
Fresh apple cider is raw juice that was not filtered to remove pulp or sediment and has no added sugar. It’s a healthy alternative to other sugary drinks, such as apple juice.
Apple juice (and some store bought cider) is filtered both to remove sediment and increase shelf life, which reduces the health benefits that apples offer.
How is Cider Made?
Fresh apple cider is made after apples are washed, cut up and mashed. The apple mash is then wrapped in cloth and put into wooden racks, where a press squeezes each layer and lets the juice flow into refrigerated tanks. The flavor varies depending on which variety of apples are used, and most cider makers use several varieties to mix the ideal flavor.
Apple Cider Health Benefits
The largest benefit of apple cider comes from the phytochemicals of the fruit which include flavonoids, fiber and carotenoids. Each of these acts as an antioxidant, and plays a role in reducing certain diseases, asthma, diabetes and certain cancers.
One of the biggest advantages of cider can be found in the pulp, which gets removed when filtered into juice as opposed to cider. The pulp is the meat of the fruit and contains high levels of dietary fiber that improves digestion, lowers cholesterol, and can help suppress appetites. Cider also offers the following:
A daily serving of fruit
Cider is a great treat for the whole family and can easily be made at home, too! For a quick and easy cider recipe, click here.
Moderation Is Still Important
While apple cider is certainly a healthier alternative to other sugary treats, it is not recommended that it become a regular part of your child’s diet. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests limiting your child’s juice intake based on age.
1-3 Years: 4 ounces a day
4-6 Years: 4-6 ounces a day
7-18 Years: 8 ounces a day
We all love ciders and juices, but it’s important to remember that cider, while a healthier option with numerous health benefits, does still contain a lot of sugar. Keep intake in moderation!
Enjoy Your Cider!
Fresh apple cider has plenty of health benefits, so let your children enjoy a glass this fall! If you decide to keep cider at home, be sure to keep it refrigerated since it is perishable. This is one fall treat you won’t feel guilty about indulging in this season, but just like any other treat, moderation is key.
For other fun fall treats, check out our kid-friendly fall recipes blog.