For years, many pediatricians, child-rearing books and parenting Web sites have warned parents against apple juice, casting it as "sugar water" with fewer nutrients than other fruit juices. Parents have found this advice hard to swallow, because kids tend to love apple juice.
Now it appears that parents have been vindicated by new research showing that apples contain more beneficial nutrients than previously thought. The new thinking builds on scientists' growing understanding of the importance of phytochemicals (plant chemicals) in fighting chronic disease and promoting health. While much of the research underscores the importance of eating whole fruit, the findings also rehabilitate apple juice -- particularly the unfiltered kind -- as a source of valuable antioxidant compounds.