Celery Juice - Hype or Healthful
Open a health or celebrity magazine or look online for healthy tips and you’ll be sure to find countless articles expounding about the benefits of drinking celery juice. Read enough of these claims and you’ll believe we found the Holy Grail. Touted benefits include: prevents cancer, lowers cholesterol, heals leaky gut, prevents kidney and gall stones, treats insomnia, aids weight loss and keeps skin and hair youthful. I skipped a few, but you get the idea.
There is a slight problem with these claims there is no human research to back them up. Best you’ll find is some anecdotal evidence spread across countless online forums, hardly what I’d call conclusive. So, for a better understanding if it’s worth the effort (not pleasant tasting) let’s take a look at celery itself.
Celery is a marshland plant with long green fibrous stalks. It is essentially a zero calorie food because you burn off the few calories it contains during mastication and digestion. In its stalk form it has a very mild flavor. Celery is fibrous and has a large water component, for this reason it can be quite filling. As with all high fiber foods they can keep you from consuming excess calories by keeping you full longer, so in this way it may help weight loss, but no more so than most other vegetables.
Celery is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants which can protect against certain cancers and also potentially lower inflammation including in the GI tract. Because of its sodium and potassium component it has somewhat of a diuretic effect. Celery is high in nitrates which in turn are converted to nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps relax blood vessels which is cardio protective and can also boost endurance and exercise performance. Skin also benefits from the vitamin A, B, C, K, Niacin, Folate and numerous minerals.
It is well established that a plant based diet is extremely healthy and celery certainly fits in there, but is celery juice the answer. First off, in its stalk form its taste is quite mild, but juiced it becomes very bitter. Secondly, there is no established dosing for quantity and frequency required for benefit as well as potential risks and interactions. I would say adding celery to your diet could be good for you, only as part of a diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables with their various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Of all the health fads out there this one is probably the safest to try. Whereas it may not be the panacea some make it out to be, it certainly does have nutritional value.
If you want to give celery a try consider eating it instead. The fiber is one of the healthiest components and often some or all is lost in juicing. It is quite possible that the while stalk imparts greater nutritional value. Celery can also be fun to eat, dip it in salsa and significantly boost the antioxidant profile. Try with hummus for a satisfying snack. My personal favorite is with peanuts or almond butter. The healthy fats in nut butters can also keep you full longer. A recent study found that those who snack on nut butter lose more weight and maintain the weight loss longer.