Juicy News: Keep the Pulp for More Antioxidant Benefit

Healthnotes Newswire (March 1, 2007)—Apple juice may be a healthy alternative to other soft drinks, especially if it contains apple pulp: a new study has found cloudy juice is more nutritious than clear apple juice.

Fruits are an important part of a healthy diet, and their sweet taste makes them appealing to most kids. Rich in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, beta-carotene, and other carotenes, they also have a wide array of flavonoids, many of them strong antioxidants.

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables prevents obesity, stimulates proper digestion, prevents gallstones, and protects the eyes from diseases of aging such as macular degeneration. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can also reduce the risks of many chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Fruit juice differs from fresh fruit in one significant way: it lacks the fiber. Peels are removed and pulp that results from pressing the fruit is often filtered out and discarded. What’s left is usually a bright-colored liquid that is as clear and smooth as water.

It turns out that fiber may not be the only important element missing from clear juices: antioxidants might also be lost. Although some antioxidants remain in the clear juice, several studies have found that the less-filtered juices—juices with pulp—maintain more of the fruit’s antioxidants.

The results of the new study, which looked at clear and cloudy apple juices made from two varieties of apples, was published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. Apples are especially rich in catechin and epicatechin, two flavonoids that have received much attention for their anticancer properties. Other antioxidant flavonoids found in apples include procyanidins and quercetin.

Although both the clear and cloudy juices had high levels of antioxidants, including flavonoids, the levels in the cloudy juices were higher. Of the cloudy juices, one variety had 50% more, and the other 80% more, flavonoids than the clear juices. Levels of some flavonoids were two to five times higher in the cloudy juices. The cloudy juices also had more antioxidant activity than their clear counterparts.

“This study helps to confirm that juicing practices that leave more fruit residue do indeed preserve some of the nutritious elements of the fruit,” commented Julianne Forbes, a naturopathic doctor in Maine and a mother of a seven-year-old. “Kids should eat whole, fresh fruit whenever possible, but sometimes juice is the only option. Now we can advise parents to choose cloudy or high-pulp juices when they decide to give their kids juice—or to drink it themselves.”

(J Sci Food Agric DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.2707)

Maureen Williams, ND, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. She has a private practice in Quechee, VT, and does extensive work with traditional herbal medicine in Guatemala and Honduras. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.

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