I like the motto, ”All things in moderation”. I enjoy my hard cider with dinner and for me, one is plenty. I love contemplating the aroma, the flavor, and how it goes with the food. What I also enjoy is that hard cider can have healthful aspects. It’s part of why I try to use organic apples and avoid adding preservatives like sulfite and sorbate. While the ethanol is generally not a healthful compound, if consumed in moderation, hard cider can have similar health benefits as red wine. An additional benefit is that cider usually has significantly less ethanol than wine. However, like red wine, it can have a large amounts of phenolic compounds, which are wonderful antioxidant compounds. One of those compounds is a phenolic acid called 5-caffeoylquinic. It imparts bitterness and interacts with salivary proteins. It can also contribute to ester production. It is one of the most common phenolic acids found in the apple. While its organoleptic characteristics may be the most interesting for our senses, it’s the antioxidant, antibacterial, and antidiabetic properties that make 5-caffeolyquinic acid a great benefit to our health.
As noted in research by Q. Liu and associates, 5-caffeolyquinic acid provides protective benefits to plants with high levels, like dandalion greens, apples, and pears(1). In the human body, it can provide hepatoprotective and diuretic benefits as well as reducing the rate glucose is released into the bloodstream. One of the key ways 5-caffeolyquinic acid does this is from the creation of caffeic acid. Yeast perform this transformation as well as enzymes found in the intestinal tract. This caffeic acid acts as an antioxidant and free-radical scavenging agent. I am finding more studies highlighting the potential role that hard cider could have as a functional food, meaning it provides healthful benefits. Just like red wine, including a moderate amount of cider without sulfites or other preservatives could contribute positively to a healthy diet as well as being an enjoyable pairing option for food. So, enjoy your cider, but do so in moderation.
(1) Q. Liu & associates, In vitro evaluation of hydroxycinnamoyl CoA:quinate hydroxycinnamoyl transferase expression and regulation in Taraxacum antungense in relation to 5-caffeoylquinic acid production, Phytochemistry 162, 2019
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