A team of researchers from the Agricultural University of Wroclaw in Poland -- led by Dr. Jan Oszmianski -- created four juices using two apple varieties, and tested the juices for antioxidant activity.
The researchers made both cloudy and clear juice from the apples -- Champion and Idared varieties -- and tested for levels of plant antioxidants called polyphenols. Oszmianski and colleagues found that the cloudy juice contained as much as four times the antioxidants as the clear juice.
The clarified juice -- long thought to be more aesthetically pleasing to consumers -- was created by extra processing to remove any apple solids. Apple juice manufacturers and retailers have also favored the highly processed, clear variety because it has a longer shelf life than cloudy juice.
However, Oszmianski's team found that cloudy apple juice -- particularly cloudy juice from Champion apples -- was far more effective than clear juice at "scavenging" free radicals, which damage cells and play a part in the development of disease. When cloudy juice from either Champion or Idared apples was clarified, the researchers found that the juice's antioxidant activity was significantly reduced.
According to natural health advocate Mike Adams, author of "The Seven Laws of Nutrition," consumers should always try to avoid highly processed foods and drinks.
"It's a simple but accurate rule of thumb for choosing foods or beverages: the less they are processed, the better they are for your health," he said.
Though the research team found that cloudy apple juice is healthier because it contains "much more" antioxidants than the more attractive clear apple juice, Oszmianski still recommends consumers simply eat apples for the greatest health benefits.
"It is better to eat whole apples with skins than drink the juice to get the most antioxidants," Oszmianski said.