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More than a green stalk dipped into peanut butter or the typical (healthier) side to a mound of Buffalo wings, celery is getting a new lease on its shelf life: juice.
Perhaps the new “it” green, celery juice is packed with vitamins and minerals that can help with digestion, cleanse and detoxify the body, and aid in weight loss. When juiced, a half a cup of celery juice contains 40 calories—a medium stalk has six calories—which may be another part of its health appeal.
High in vitamin K, as well as calcium and flavonoids, fresh raw celery and its juice may help strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis, according to a recent study. Stalks also contain antioxidants and phytochemicals, which may help reduce both inflammation and disease risk, Jenna Gorham, registered dietician nutritionist, told us. But that doesn’t mean celery or its juice is a miracle food for all.
Gorham adds, “Unfortunately, there is nothing inherently special about celery to make it the magic cure-all the trend makes it out to be.” She says that eating celery on a daily basis is not unhealthy, but including a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet is just as beneficial, if not more than the quantity you include. “Celery also contains fiber (when consumed whole), vitamin A, folate, potassium, and vitamin C, so yes, including celery in your diet can be a healthy choice. Celery juice, itself, has not been studied, and the claims behind the trend are not supported by science.”
A recent report in the Journal of Evidence-based Complementary & Alternative Medicine found that celery (whole) has anti-inflammatory properties and can help prevent cardiovascular diseases, jaundice, liver disease, urinary tract infections, rheumatic disorder, as well as help reduce high blood pressure, chronic skin disorders, and more. Another report by the University of Illinois College of Agricultural found that the apigenin, luteolin, flavonoids in celery (and artichokes) may even help kill pancreatic cancer cells.
There’s still more research in the area of celery and its juice, but one claim Gorham believes holds little weight is that drinking celery juice on an empty stomach (i.e. first thing in the morning) helps a person get the full effect of it aiding in digestion and weight control. “No matter what time of day or how full or empty your stomach is, you will benefit the same from the nutrient composition of celery,” says Gorham.
Juicing the stalks makes it easier to digest but also strips it of all its natural fiber, which can help you feel full longer or help with your gut health. Instead, Gorham recommends also eating celery whole to get its full fiber. “Most people don’t consume enough fiber, and celery is a great way to add flavor to dishes while boosting fiber intake,” says Gorham, who also suggests adding the green to stir fries, soups, stews, salads, grain dishes, casseroles, and more. “Celery, carrot, and onion is the classic French Mirepoix, which provides a delicious flavor base to a variety of dishes,” she says. “Try adding it in a smoothie with other fruits and veggies or eat it plain with a scoop of peanut butter and topped with raisins.”