Have you heard about the “Medical Medium,” who touts miraculous benefits from drinking celery juice and has single-handedly driven up the price of celery, even making some grocery stores run out of stock?
Anthony William, the self-proclaimed founder of a “global celery juice movement,” and health adviser to many celebrities, has become quite a celebrity himself. He is not a doctor and has no medical training. Instead, he says he has a “Spirit” adviser, whose voice has guided William on medical issues since he was a child.
The Spirit, William says, tells him medical information about the people he is helping, allowing William to read their medical conditions. This enabled him to diagnose his symptom-free grandmother with lung cancer when he was just four-years-old, he says.
Today, William extolls the “healing powers” of drinking 450 ml of straight celery juice on an empty stomach every day. He recommends it for an array of ailments and told the New York Post that celery juice is “a powerful herbal medicine that’s killing bugs in people’s bodies.”
While celery juice, and whole celery, offer several health benefits, raw celery can contain natural toxins, which in high doses, might not be beneficial. So as with all things we consume, moderation, balance, and all available facts should be weighed before we jump on a bandwagon that promises one surefire cure for a multitude of ailments.
Also, as other health experts have said in The Guardian’s story about William, putting total faith in someone who says his sole guide is a Spirit, limits your treatment options, and might mean you miss needed medical evaluation.
What’s in Celery?
Celery does offer benefits. And experts still disagree about whether eating whole vegetables is more nutritious than juicing. I believe juicing helps with detoxification.
Celery contains Vitamin A for healthy eyes, Vitamin C to support your immune system, Vitamin K which plays an important role in blood clotting and folate. It also contains fiber, when eaten instead of juiced.
Eating celery sticks can be helpful with weight loss, cancer prevention, boosting the immune system, and many other things. Eating sticks of celery is known to help speed up your metabolism and burn calories. Certain plant proteins in celery also can help control your hunger. A celery stalk contains only about six calories.
Celery leaves contain beneficial flavonoids such as lutein and beta-carotene, which are known to help prevent cancer.
But in his blog, Dr. Andrew Weil, also an alternative medicine specialist, notes that celery contains some natural toxin and produces psoralens, which can sensitize the skin to the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation in sunlight.
Cooking the celery will eliminate psoralens. The toxins come from a common fungus called pink rot. Pink rot causes the brownish patches that discolor many celery stalks. If you cut off brownish patches, you also can eliminate psoralens, he says.
Drinking Vegetables vs. Eating Vegetables
Juicing celery and other vegetables can help detoxify. Juices contain nutrients and enzymes that fight toxins and chemicals. After years of build-up from fast or processed foods, and environmental chemicals, the body stores chemicals and toxins in multiple organ systems. By transforming your diet to include more raw fruits and vegetables, it helps to detoxify the body.
Juicing also helps with weight loss. Fresh juice from raw vegetables has few calories. But I don’t recommend going on a total juice fast if you haven’t done it before. Implementing juicing as part of a healthy diet is easier, and offers more balance.
I also don’t recommend limiting yourself exclusively to celery juice. There are too many other vegetables that offer different antioxidants and benefits.
Juicing also can be helpful for people with digestive disorders and absorption issues. The juice lacks fiber so it absorbs more easily by the body.
But eliminating all fiber from your diet is not a good idea because fiber is needed for proper bowel function and cholesterol reduction.