Fruit ciders are typically made by washing, chopping and mashing, then either squeezing or pressing, a fruit to extract juice from the pulp. The health benefits of fruit cider are, therefore, broadly similar to the health benefits of raw fruit. Fruit ciders may be classified as either "raw" or "pasteurized," depending on whether the cider has undergone a heat-treatment process similar to the kind used in milk pasteurization.
An 8-oz. serving of apple cider typically contains 120 calories, no fat, 60 mg of sodium, 135 mg of potassium, 30 g of carbohydrate in the form of sugars and no protein. The same serving also provides 6 percent of the typical adult's daily vitamin C requirements and 2 percent of typical daily iron needs. Fruit cider does not typically contain any significant amount of cholesterol, calcium, vitamin A or dietary fiber.
Most commercial fruit cider is pasteurized, a process using heat to kill bacteria. Apple cider undergoes a shorter pasteurization process than apple juice. This is why apple juice does not need to be refrigerated in the grocery store, whereas even pasteurized apple cider will be kept in a refrigerator before and after sale.
Raw fruit ciders are those which have not been pasteurized or treated with ultraviolet light. According to the New York Cider website, the pasteurization process, when executed effectively, does not change the flavor or the nutritional profile of fruit cider.
Whether consumed raw or pasteurized, fruit cider provides a significant proportion of the vitamin C your body needs. Healthy adults are recommended to consume 60 mg of vitamin C daily. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, plays an important role in your body's absorption of iron. Vitamin C also supports your immune system functioning, helps wounds heal and supports the development and maintenance of healthy blood vessels and connective tissues.
Drinking raw or unpasteurized fruit ciders carries an inherently greater risk of consuming bacteria which would have been removed by a pasteurization process. Except for direct sales of raw fruit cider at orchards, juice bars or far stands, the U.S. FDA requires all commercial fruit ciders to be pasteurized or treated with ultraviolet light in order to reduce the risk of bacterial infection. Nutritional considerations relating to all fruit ciders include the relatively high sugar content without any protein or dietary fiber. The high sugar content of fruit cider, in combination with the acidity of the beverage, may contribute to tooth decay.