Monday 11 February 2019

Celery juice: Health elixir or celebrity fad?

Celery stalks and juice
Celery juice is claimed to have miracle healing powers ... but dietitians are not convinced. Photo: 

Celery juice is now part of an online global movement, with supporters touting it as a ‘miracle’ tonic, a ‘saviour’, and a superfood for people with ‘chronic and mystery illnesses’. And millions have become hooked on its alluring claims.
In a break from his usual pre-match and on-court snaps, just days before winning the 2019 Australian Open, Novak Djokovic posed for a photo that was posted to his 5.1 million Instagram followers.
In it, a smiling Djokovic was seen holding a glass bottle filled with frothy celery juice, with the caption: “Good rising guys from Aus. many have asked about my rising routine so I shared one thing in stories that I do every day.”
Weeks earlier, Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr gushed over the reported “anti-inflammatory” and “alkalizing” benefits of the juice in a YouTube video and, like other celebrity fans, posted a glowing endorsement of the plain drink to her 11.9 million followers.
Other high-profile fans reported to wake up with celery juice are Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Kardashian, Robert De Niro and golfer Hunter Mahan.
And all roads lead to one man, Anthony William, a US-based wellbeing author, and creator of Medical Medium and the “global celery juice movement”. Through his 1.5 million-strong Instagram page, YouTube account and television appearances, he shares his health views and claims on celery juice, and other detoxes.
One of the most enticing claims circulated by the Medical Medium is celery’s “undiscovered sodium cluster salts that bring healing to the root causes of many symptoms and conditions.”
There are also claims that the juice flushes out auto-immune disease, ‘purifies’ the bloodstream, reduces brain fog, restores gut health, prevents migraines and clears up acne.
“It’s a miracle turnaround for all kinds of conditions… 16 ounces of straight celery juice can change somebody’s life,” William said on US television.
All this, and more, if only you drink roughly 475 millilitres of plain celery juice every morning on an empty stomach.
Dietitians say there is no harm in drinking celery juice every day. It is a healthy plant food, after all. However, they say, any claims of a cure-all have the potential to mislead, and provide a false sense of hope.
“I don’t see any harms in celery juice unless someone thinks it will cure some diagnosed health problem and that person then rejects treatments known to be effective,” nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton said.
“If someone is diagnosed with cancer and rejects proven medical treatment in favour of self-medication with celery juice, that would be harmful.”
She told The New Daily that the extravagant health claims associated with celery juice are not supported by scientific evidence.
“There’s nothing specially wonderful about undiluted celery juice – unless you drink it in preference to some sugary drink.”
She explained that celery juice concentrate is high in nitrite which may have some preservative qualities.
There is also some evidence that a flavonoid in celery may act as an antioxidant and possibly as an anti-inflammatory – at least in rodents.  This hasn’t been proven in human trials or studied in pure juice form.
Dietitian Melanie McGrice said that anti-inflammatory flavonoids are not unique to celery.
“You don’t have to be having a celery juice each day to get these nutrients into your diet.”
One benefit, that is proven, is celery’s slight diuretic effect, Ms McGrice told The New Daily. 
“It can help to ease bloating and water retention for some people.”
But she warned: “You couldn’t rely on celery juice alone to be optimising your gut health. You really need to look at your whole diet.
“If people want to do it, then fantastic … but I would say, you need to have a super diet, rather than a super food.”
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