Cider apples keep you healthy, so drink up!

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When we are introducing ciders to a new audience, we often are asked about the health benefits of fermented apples. Ciders are lower in alcohol than wine, and are naturally gluten-free. But wait — there’s even more, from a study at the University of Glasgow.

Here’s their update on the health benefits of cider, from http://news.softpedia.com/news/A-Pint-of-Cider-Is-Actually-Very-Healthy-33993.shtml

A study in August 2006 conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow aims at revealing the healthy benefits from English cider apples. They have found that cider apples are very rich in polyphenol antioxidants or, as the researchers term them, “phenolic antioxidants.” These compounds which occur naturally in the plant protect our bodies against damages caused by free radicals and also prevent heart attacks, strokes and a various range of cancer types.

Antioxidant properties of the natural occurring compounds in plants fight against molecular oxidation by the free radicals; this is why they are called anti-oxidants. In our body, an infinite number of chemical reactions take place every day. A part of the chemical changes in the cells that use oxygen give birth to free radicals, which are harmful for the cells and the organism. An excessive amount of free radicals interact with the DNA or parts of the other cells in the body and may damage them. But the antioxidants counteract and neutralize these organic “enemies.”

After tracing down the beneficial properties of the rich in polyphenols cider apples, the next step of the investigation is going to consist in analyzing how human body absorbs the natural chemicals. Therefore, researchers chose 12 volunteers to drink pints of cider for a certain period of time and they are supposed to avoid any other food that can constitute another source of antioxidants. When the trial is over, the participants in the study will be taken blood and urine samples which will be further analyzed by the team leading the experiment.

“Previous research suggests there may be an association between phenolics and protection against some serious diseases, so we are trying to find out how we get phenolics from our diet. The more information we can get about phenolics in cider and what happens to them in the body, the more chance we have of positively influencing the phenolic content of English cider, for example, helping manufacturers chose varieties of cider apple which have naturally higher levels of phenolics. This could mean that drinking a glass of cider is not only enjoyable, but a great way for people to naturally increase the amount of phenolics in their diet,” noted Serena Marks, leader of the research.

Delicious, nutritious cider. It’s true — an apple a day may keep the doctors away!

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