Many have reveled at the claim that an apple a day could keep the doctor away. In a general sense, I always thought it meant that healthier eating leads to a healthy existence. To a degree, that’s exactly what it means. But, it also speaks to the mystical powers locked within the fleshy, sweet fruit & its protective exterior (all hail the apple!). It has been known and determined that apples, indeed, are a fruit with many associated health benefits, but what happens when you take a sledgehammer to it and ferment the juices? Let’s go, now, on a journey through the health benefits and some issues with a heavy dose of cider in your diet.
Most of the healthy elements of an apple come from the apple skin and, luckily, it is included in the smashing & crashing process, making pomace. It is within the pomace, and some of the fermentation process, that antioxidants, ursolic acid, fibers, polyphenol, and minor forms of vitamins are locked up. Of the components, the soluble fibers are able to reduce your cholesterol levels by traveling and filling your blood vessels. This prevents buildup in said blood vessels, lowering your chance of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Another type of fiber, insoluble fibers, are able to assist with proper digestion of food & making you feel full longer. So, you could say that it assists with weight loss & managing your appetite. To learn more about soluble & insoluble fibers, you can visit this page.
Cider is also packed low in sodium & packed with antioxidants, much like wine, providing well-known health boosts. Antioxidants are best known for their defense against free radicals. No, I said that right. And, no, they are not a new group of soldiers from the 18th century. In the simplest form, free radicals are molecules that are missing an electron needed to be “complete”. Without with electron, these molecules become upset, look to ruin everyone’s day, and this can cause serious cell damage. Free radicals are associated with certain types of cancers, cardiovascular issues, and neurodegenerative diseases. While not confirmed, they also have been linked to the aging process. Antioxidants relieve this oxidation process by preventing the formation of free radicals, donating their electrons to the free radical & making them feel right at home. No longer a ticking time bomb of a molecule. Free radicals do naturally occur in the body, but pollutants, pesticides, fast food, etc. can promote the creation of these menacing molecules.
One of the most advertised elements of cider is that many, not all, are gluten free. Gluten has been known to cause sickness, stomach pain, irritability, and intestinal inflammation in certain individuals. This is known as celiac disease, or a gluten allergy. Celiac disease is an genetic autoimmune disorder, and it is said to affect 1 in 100 people. This leads me to believe that at least 1 in 100 individuals that drink should, at least, be enjoying cider! The gluten free element of cider is what makes it a winner to those that suffer with the allergy & avoid beer at all cost. Most ciders are also hop free, as opposed to beers, and can be a replacement for individuals with an allergy to hops.
Outside of the above, there are old wives tale that showcase apples, and the associated counter-products, as a method of treatment for acid reflux. It would be the combination of alkalizing minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium that help combat stomach acid from working its way up your esophagus. It is worth trying if you are trying to get rid of some late night acid kicks. Cider is not too far off from a Bruce Lee, Superman, and Gandalf, it seems, with these super powers just below the cap (or cape?).
You must think that cider is extremely healthy now and you can get rid of those Richard Simmons workout tapes, right? Well, you can hit the pause button right there and rewind. One of the many components of cider is sugar, and, as you may know, sugar isn’t always the best for you. The sugar count in each cider bottle is largely higher than beer. Sugar is essential to the processing of cider, but sugar is often added for sweetness & the fermentation process. Many of the commercial ciders can range from 12 – 24 grams of sugar in a single bottle. That is almost your daily dose of sugar in a few sips. Yikes! There are , however, responsible companies out there that keep the sugar to a minimum like Citizen Cider and their astonishing stop-fermentation process. But, for the most part, you are getting more than you would with beer. There are many forms of sugars added to ciders, some with additional negative side effects, but we won’t get into that much. If you had that donut this morning, maybe cider shouldn’t be your next step. Well, you can. We aren’t your parents.
Ciders are also not the lowest in calories or carbohydrates. In many cases, a pint of cider has as many calories as a sugar donut (there is that pesky donut again). It is always a good idea to look over the product labels before consuming. Many of our favorite ciders are lower in sugar and sit around 140 – 200 calories. Many beer & cider drinkers aren’t necessarily concerned with calories, but it was worth noting. Just always be conscious and aware of what you eat or drink, you know?
Is hard cider healthy? It is as healthy as you want it to be. If you are guzzling down a 4-6 pack in a 30 minute period of time, we are going to say it isn’t. Yet, if you know how to handle all things in moderation & truly taste/enjoy a beverage, there are worse things to pick up. Apples and ciders hold valuable nutrients and antioxidants that can protect the body, but any form of alcohol in excess is bad news bears. And, it doesn’t help that it can quickly spike your blood sugar levels if you party like a college student. Be responsible when drinking. Be a responsible consumer. Buy the right products. Enjoy in moderation to reap the benefits. Case closed.