Mounting Evidence Grows Against Diet Soda

Story at-a-glance

  • Drinking one artificially sweetened beverage a day may increase your risk of stroke and dementia by three-fold compared to drinking less than one a week
  • Drinking just two diet drinks a day can dramatically increase your risk of an early death from heart disease
  • Consumption of diet soda at least daily is associated with a 36 percent increased risk of metabolic syndrome and a 67 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes compared with not consuming any

By Dr. Mercola

At the peak of its popularity in 2005, 3 billion cases of diet soda were sold in one year. This beverage has since fallen out of favor, falling by 27 percent (or 834 million cases) as of 2016. Still, diet soda still makes up 25 percent of the carbonated beverages sold in the U.S.1 (by volume), which means many Americans are still partaking — undoubtedly many of them because they believe they’re making a healthier choice than regular soda.

This — the idea that diet soda is in any way healthy — is one of the biggest prevailing myths in the nutrition realm today. If you’re one of the nearly half of U.S. adults who consume artificial sweeteners, mostly in the form of diet soda, daily (even one-quarter of kids do so as well),2 it’s important you’re let in on the truth: If you drink a lot of diet soda, you’re putting your health at risk.

What Are the Health Risks of Diet Soda?

A number of studies have been published recently that cast serious doubt on the safety of drinking diet soda. The health risks revealed include:

Stroke and Dementia

Drinking one artificially sweetened beverage a day may increase your risk of stroke and dementia by three-fold compared to drinking less than one a week.3 Even drinking one to six artificially sweetened beverages a week was linked to a 2.6 greater risk of stroke compared to not drinking any.

A 2012 study similarly found that people who drank diet soft drinks daily were 43 percent more likely to have suffered a vascular event, including a stroke.4 This significant association persisted even after controlling for other factors that could increase the risk, such as smoking, physical activity levels, alcohol consumption, diabetes, heart disease, dietary factors and more.

As for the dementia link, this one is new and no one knows for sure how diet drinks may affect your brain. Forbes compiled some plausible theories, however, including perhaps via the disruption artificial sweeteners pose to your gut health, via the corresponding gut-brain axis. Alternatively:5

“Diet sodas are designed to trick the brain into thinking it’s getting an extra dose of glucose (the brain’s fuel), but eventually the trick is on us because the brain adapts to not receiving the added glucose by overcompensating in other ways (leading to a variety of effects still under investigation).”

Heart Attack

Research that included nearly 60,000 post-menopausal women who were followed for about 10 years found that drinking just two diet drinks a day can dramatically increase your risk of an early death from heart disease.6

Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes

People with type 2 diabetes are often advised to consume artificial sweeteners in lieu of sugar, but research shows consumption of diet soda at least daily is associated with a 36 percent greater relative risk of metabolic syndrome and a 67 percent greater relative risk of type 2 diabetes compared with not consuming any.7


According to a study that included nearly 264,000 U.S. adults over the age of 50, those who drank more than four cans or glasses of diet soda or other artificially sweetened beverages daily had a nearly 30 percent higher risk of depression compared to those who did not consume diet drinks.8

Diet Soda May Make You Gain Weight

If you’re drinking diet soda to avoid all the calories in sugar-sweetened soda, you may be surprised to learn that, like regular soda, diet soda is linked to weight gain. In April 2017, research presented at ENDO 2017, the Endocrine Society’s 99th annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, once again found that artificial sweeteners promote metabolic dysfunction that may promote the accumulation of fat.9

The study tested sucralose (brand name Splenda) on stem cells taken from human fat tissue, which revealed that a dose similar to what would be found in the blood of someone who drinks four cans of diet soda a day increased the expression of genes linked to fat production and inflammation, as well as increased fat droplets on cells.10 The study’s lead author, Dr. Sabyasachi Sen, an endocrinologist at George Washington University Hospital, noted in a press release:11

“From our study, we believe low-calorie sweeteners promote additional fat formation by allowing more glucose to enter the cells, and promotes inflammation, which may be more detrimental in obese individuals.”

The fact that the artificial sweetener was associated with increased glucose uptake in the cells was particularly concerning, as it could have detrimental effects for people with elevated blood sugar levels, like those with diabetes or pre-diabetes.12

Aspartame in Diet Soda Linked to Obesity

Aspartame is one of the most popular artificial sweeteners used in diet soda, and research has also linked it to weight gain and obesity. A study on mice revealed that animals fed aspartame-laced drinking water gained weight and developed symptoms of metabolic syndrome while mice not fed the artificial sweetener did not. Further, the researchers revealed that phenylalanine, an aspartame breakdown product, blocks the activity of a gut enzyme called alkaline phosphatase (IAP).

In a previous study, IAP was found to prevent the development of metabolic syndrome (and reduce symptoms in those with the condition) when fed to mice.13 Aspartame likely promotes obesity by interfering with IAP activity. Mice in the study were fed either plain water or water infused with the equivalent amount of aspartame found in two to 3.5 cans of diet soda, along with a normal diet or a high-fat diet.

Mice in the high-fat group that drank aspartame-infused water gained more weight than those eating the same diet without aspartame in their water. Further, all the mice fed aspartame had higher blood sugar levels — an indicator of glucose intolerance — and higher levels of inflammatory protein TNF-alpha, which is suggestive of systemic inflammation. Given aspartame’s inhibition of IAP, the researchers suggested its use is counterproductive.

Diet Soda May Harm Fertility

According to Dr. Arvind Vaid, an IVF expert at Indira IVF in India, “Almost all of the soft drinks and sodas contain aspartame which is linked to many health problems including infertility, malformations and miscarriages.” He told the Kashmir Monitor, “Excess consumption leads to hormonal imbalance and fluctuation that causes ovulatory disorders and even worsens PMS (premenstrual syndrome).”14

In addition, Vaid said, the phenylalanine and aspartic acids in aspartame may lead to the production of free radicals that may kill cells, including sperm and ovum cells. Indeed, a 2017 animal study revealed that aspartame consumption was linked to oxidative-stress-related damage to rat sperm.15 Further, the acidic nature of the soda may alter the pH level of your body, which may further harm sperm cells.

Adding to the problems, the caffeine in diet soda is linked to increased ovulatory disorders and infertility in women.16 If you’re pregnant, you’ll also want to steer clear of artificial sweeteners. In 2016, a study found that women who consumed artificially sweetened beverages daily during pregnancy had babies with a two-fold higher risk of being overweight at the age of 1 year.17

Adding Fiber to Poison

In an effort to revamp Diet Coke’s increasingly negative reputation, Coca-Cola has rolled out artificially sweetened zero-calorie Coca-Cola Plus, which has added fiber. It’s currently only available in Japan, where it’s even being marketed as able to help “suppress fat absorption.” As registered dietician Cynthia Sass wrote in Time:

“When I heard about Coca-Cola Plus, a zero-calorie Coke with added fiber, I thought it was an April Fool’s joke I somehow missed. Especially when the company claimed this ridiculous product is meant for a ‘health-conscious consumer.’ No sugarcoating here: Adding fiber to soda of any kind, regular or diet, doesn’t make it healthy.18

Many people could benefit from increasing their fiber intake, but drinking diet soda to do so is defeating the point. To get more fiber, eat more vegetables — they’re among the best sources — along with seeds and psyllium husk, and forget about fiber-enhanced soft drinks, if and when they become available in your area.

Ditching Diet Soda Is Essential for Your Health

Eliminating diet (and regular) soda from your diet is an excellent step toward better health. As you wean yourself off artificial sweeteners, keep something sour nearby. Sour taste, such as that from fermented vegetables or water spruced up with lemon or lime juice, helps to reduce sweets cravings. If that doesn’t appeal to you, try a cup of organic black coffee, an opioid receptor that can bind to your opioid receptors, occupy them and essentially block your addiction to other opioid-releasing food.19,20

I also recommend addressing your cravings on an emotional level. Turbo Tapping, which is a version of the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), is specifically useful for diet soda addiction. And if you’re missing the carbonation element of diet soda, try a sparkling mineral water instead. Spruce it up with fresh lemon or lime juice, a drop or two of natural peppermint extract, liquid stevia, cucumber slices or a few crushed mint leaves for a refreshing treat that will support your health instead of sabotage it.

Eat chia for a cheerful life.

The chia seed,that minute seed that has great salutary and amazing medicinal properties offers many options that span the whole range of meals from breakfast to bedtime snack.
Therefore, you should make it a regular guest at your table.Its unbeatable health benefits are innumerable

as the examples below indicate:-

The chia seeds are known to contain a high proportion of dietary fibre.This,therefore makes it very ideal when it comes to managing problems that come both when one diarrhoeas or constipates.
Chia seed is equally a rich source of antioxidants and proteins. The combination of the two not only help keep the heart healthy but also keep risks of different types of infections at bay.
Omega 3 fatty acids namely eicosapentaeonic(APA) and docosahexaeonic like the already mentioned antioxidants also boost the body’s immunity towards fighting diseases and also unclog the body blood veins by removing cholesterol and essentially keeping blood pressure in check.As a result of this, depression and anxiety are equally brought to minimal levels.
No functions of the human body can go on in absence of phosphorus.For all functions of the body to happen,therefore,phosphorus in the form of adenosine triphosphate(ATP) fuels the body by liberating all the energy the body needs.
Magnesium plays a integral role in the functioning of the body system through what’s generally known as homeostasis.Here,it ensures that all the chemicals and minerals in the body are well balanced to avoid a chemical chain reaction that would easily cause death or disability of body parts.Calcium,sodium and potassium levels are managed by magnesium so that they don’t tamper with body functions related to nerve impulses,muscle contractions and even the heart rhythms. Its good to note also that calcium forms the body framework in the form of bones and teeth.On the contrary, high potassium levels helps keep down sodium which comes largely from eating foods high in salt.

Love Your Heart, Eat Chocolate

Story at-a-glance

  • People who consumed cocoa, especially dark chocolate, one to three times a month were less likely to be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib), also known as irregular heart rhythm
  • Reduced atrial fibrillation risk for women was linked to eating one serving of chocolate per week, while the biggest reduction for men was associated with eating two to six servings per week
  • More than 2.7 million people in the U.S. (33 million worldwide) suffer from atrial fibrillation, associated with an increased heart attack risk, heart failure, stroke and even cognitive impairment
  • Make sure when you’re reaching for chocolate that you choose the dark variety, as milk chocolate is higher in sugar and lower in antioxidants and sometimes contains damaging artificial sweeteners

By Dr. Mercola

This may cause many a heart to leap, but chocolate, once again, has been placed in the “beneficial for your health” category. This time, quite fittingly, it’s your heart that may benefit from eating this most decadent of treats. Through the ages, benefits such as increased energy as well as libido have been attributed to chocolate, which has also been considered good for diarrhea and migraines, and treating syphilis and even cancer.

Some of these are even true; antioxidant catechins found in dark chocolate were found to be the active ingredient responsible for lowering lung cancer rates,1 as well as rectal cancer.2 According to a recent study in Denmark,3 people who consume cocoa one to three times a month were about 10 percent less likely to be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, or AFib, the medical term for irregular heart rhythm, compared to people who ate chocolate less than once a month.

Elizabeth Mostofsky, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a team of researchers analyzed the data and found “a significant association between eating chocolate and a lower risk of AF — suggesting that even small amounts of cocoa consumption can have a positive health impact.”4

The team’s new research, published in the journal BMJ Heart,5 showed a reduced risk of AFib for women who ate one serving of chocolate per week, while the biggest reduction for men was associated with eating two to six servings per week.

Previous studies in 20106 and 2015, known as the Physicians’ Health Study, had drawn no such conclusions, and the latter review involved 33,000 Americans.7 Eating cocoa and foods containing it may be heart beneficial due to the high number of antioxidant, inflammation-fighting and blood vessel-relaxing flavanols cocoa contains, the researchers concluded.

Flavanols are a subgroup of polyphenols found in tea, red grape skins and wine as well as chocolate, which are known to act as powerful antioxidants. Previous studies had already determined that not just cocoa, but dark chocolate, specifically, has the most flavanols to impart health advantages, including reduced inflammation that can cause tissue damage. Flavanols may also offset blood clots that form when irregular heartbeats permit blood in the heart to “pool up,” LA Times says.8

Eating dark chocolate is associated with decreased risk of heart attack, heart failure, cognitive impairment and even early death. But as studies go, scientists weren’t convinced it was actually the chocolate that prevented atrial fibrillation, evidenced by irregular heartbeats in the heart’s upper chamber, as the studies had been fairly thin.

Atrial Fibrillation: Studies, Symptoms and Risks

According to the American Heart Association, 2.7 million or more people in the U.S. suffer from atrial fibrillation, and a whopping 33 million suffer from it worldwide.9 It increases the risk of blood clots, which often result in strokes, heart failure, cognitive impairment and other problems in the individuals who have it. LA Times explained what it is:

“Atrial fibrillation is believed to result from the release of certain molecules that ultimately damage heart tissue. That damage changes the way electrical signals travel through the chambers of the heart, causing one’s heartbeat to flutter instead of beating in a steady rhythm.”10

Unfortunately, 25 percent of adults are projected to develop the condition in their lifetime, according to Drs. Sean Pokorney and Jonathan Piccini, cardiologists at Duke University Medical Center, who published an editorial that ran alongside the study results. Researchers scrutinized data from 55,502 men and women in Denmark between the ages of 50 and 64 years old at the time the long-term study began.

Each provided information detailing their dietary habits between 1993 and 1997. The data collected was then linked to Denmark’s national health registries to find which ones were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. It was found that 3,346 of the cases occurred over 13.5 years. Scientific American reported:

“Based on their diets at the beginning of the study period, people who ate one serving, about 1 ounce (28.35 grams), of chocolate per week were 17 percent less likely to be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation by the end of the study than people who reported eating chocolate less than once a month.

Similarly, those who ate 2 to 6 ounces per week were 20 percent less likely to be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation while those who ate more than an ounce of chocolate a day were 16 percent less likely to have the condition.”11

Other Factors to Consider Regarding Chocolate Consumption

Interestingly, researchers didn’t examine related factors such as sleep apnea or kidney disease, which may influence atrial fibrillation, and they had no data on whether the subjects consumed milk chocolate or dark chocolate, so as a result, the amount of flavanols connected to the chocolate they ate also was unavailable.

However, the data suggests that people who ate more chocolate also consumed more calories, but had a lower body mass index (BMI) — the measure of weight in relation to height — compared to those who ate the least chocolate.

Alice Lichtenstein, director and senior scientist at the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University, who was not part of the featured study, noted the likelihood that the people in the first group may have also been more physically active. Pokorney and Piccini said the study results were interesting and worth further consideration in spite of its limitations, noting:

“A double-blind randomized controlled trial is needed to evaluate the true efficacy of chocolate for the prevention of (atrial fibrillation) and such a trial would need to incorporate quantified doses of cocoa.”12

Does the Type of Chocolate You Eat Really Matter?

There are several types of chocolate: Dark chocolates and the milk-based kind have both been mentioned, but there’s also white chocolate to consider, and other ingredients that may either make or break its ability to be considered something healthy to consume. It’s true that as good as chocolate may be for you, it often contains large amounts of sugar, as well as “bad” fats, including trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils that could contribute to chronic disease.

Dark chocolate, on the other hand, usually contains more cocoa solids. Knowing that, Mostofsky expressed doubt regarding whether the milk chocolates Danes typically eat would return any positive results from the study, but the researchers learned something new.

She noted, “We were pleasantly surprised that — despite the fact that most of the chocolate may have had relatively low cocoa concentrations — we were still able to see robust findings.”13 The La Times noted something that is very significant from Mostofsky’s study:

“The authors wrote that their study may have turned out differently than the previous ones because chocolate in Denmark contains more cocoa — the suspected beneficial ingredient — than it does in the U.S. Here, milk chocolate must have at least 10 percent cocoa solids, and dark chocolate must have at least 35 percent. In Denmark, the requirements are 30 percent and 43 percent, respectively.

Another difference is that the new study measured cases of ‘clinically apparent’ atrial fibrillation that were recorded in Denmark’s national health records. The American studies relied on self-reports of AF.”14

That’s certainly not to say that chocolate now allows people carte blanche in the noshing category. Tom Sherman, director of biomedical sciences at Georgetown University Medical Center (who did not take part in the study), suggested that chocolate lovers stick to eating no more than “a nice, 1-ounce piece of chocolate.”

Just don’t take it too far, Mostofsky said, because even though there’s a substantial link between eating chocolate and a lower risk of AFib, “Eating excessive amounts of chocolate is not recommended because many chocolate products are high in calories from sugar and fat and could lead to weight gain and other metabolic problems.”

What to Look for in Chocolate

It’s always wise to read labels to know exactly what’s in the packages you buy, and it’s true with chocolate, as well. One ounce of milk chocolate chips, according to Nutrition Data,15 contains an average of more than 14 grams of sugar! In comparison, the same amount of dark chocolate, with 70 percent to 85 percent cacao solids, contains 6.7 grams of sugar.16

Make sure the chocolate you consume doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, found to cause serious chronic neurological disorders and numerous other acute symptoms, from migraines to blurred vision to anxiety attacks. A CNN article noted that when it comes to chocolate, “white” chocolate contains no cacao at all, and a bar labeled “70 percent cocoa” may have different amounts of the flavonoids you’re looking for.

Further “chocolate that has gone through a chemical step known as dutching, also known as Dutch chocolate, has essentially lost all traces of these compounds.”17 As for net carbs contained in chocolate, it’s important to determine by reading labels the amount of grams of carbohydrates, subtracting the dietary fiber, then subtracting the sugar alcohol if it applies.

Something to remember, too, is that the important thing is the total carbs minus fiber (i.e., net carbs). Fiber is crucial not just to keep your colon regulated, but for overall health as well.

Especially if you’re not paying attention to the labels, the chocolate you reach for will most likely contain high amounts of sugar, Mostofsky asserted. “But moderate intake of chocolate with high cocoa content may be a healthy choice.” Perhaps because of this, there’s a body of scientists now dedicated to determining whether a “chocolate pill” made with cocoa extract might be the next big thing.

To get the greatest health benefits of chocolate by consuming a whole food instead of a pill, raw cacao butter (the fat component of the cacao seed) or raw cacao nibs are excellent options.

Call Toll Free: 877-985-2695

All About Growing Celery

By Dr. Mercola

When you think about it, celery is a rather odd vegetable, quite different from others. At first bite, while it does deliver an amazing crunch, it doesn’t seem to have all that much flavor. Slice it up for a garden salad, however, and you’ll notice how fresh and “foody” it tastes, adding unmistakable flavor to a variety of dishes, from lentil soup to stir-fries.

It can be enjoyed as a delicious snack with nut butter, and it’s a perfect “finger” food to place on a healthy snack tray with raw grass fed cheese, pickles and other crunchy raw veggies.

Celery is a descendant of wild celery, related to parsnips, parsley and fennel of the Apiaceae plant family. A billion pounds are produced in the U.S. annually, 80 percent of it from California, Michigan and Florida, but it has a history in a surprising number of regions of the world, including Sweden, Asia, Egypt and mountainous areas of India. In Europe, celery is blanched or deprived of light as it’s growing to give the stalks a lighter color and a more delicate consistency.

Many people prefer using the darker green outer stalks for cooking, and the paler, more tender stalks for eating raw or in dishes like cold egg salad. In addition, celery seeds have a remarkably robust, almost sharp flavor, and it doesn’t take much to add flavor and zest to sauces, chutneys and condiments. As such, they’re often used for making pickles.

Celery seeds are also good in soups and even sprinkled on sandwiches as a topping, but remember: A little goes a long way. Aside from the seeds required to sow in order to grow celery, celery seeds must be labeled as food-grade. Many grocery stores keep them in stock, but they can also be ordered online. Celery itself can be purchased in grocery stores, supermarkets and many farmers markets, but it’s much healthier grown organically in your own garden.

How to Grow Organic Celery in Your Garden

Growing organic produce like celery simply means without the use of harmful chemicals. Celery, unfortunately, is one crop that is heavily sprayed in commercial operations, so grow your own! While it’s possible to pick up celery seedlings or “starts” at many nurseries, you’ll have more varieties to choose from if you buy seeds, instead.

Read the labels to find out which varieties work best in your zone, noting differences in the color (some have a red tinge), flavor and hardiness of the end product. Organic Life suggests sowing your seeds indoors 10 to 12 weeks before the last projected spring frost, following this procedure:

  1. Soak your seeds in water overnight to encourage germination.
  2. Prepare a flat plant container by placing a half-and-half mixture of sand and compost in it, smoothing it to get it ready for planting.
  3. Plant the seeds in rows 1 inch apart and cover each seed with a one-half inch layer of the sand and compost mixture.
  4. Next, cover the seeds with a one-half inch layer of sand, then cover the entire flat with damp sphagnum moss or burlap until the seeds begin to sprout.
  5. Place the flat(s) in a sunny spot (although out of direct sun), maintaining a temperature of 70 degrees to 75 degrees F throughout the day and around 60 degrees F at night.

Water the plants liberally and often, make sure they’re draining well and give them plenty of circulating air. Transplant them into individual pots when they’re about 2 inches high. At 6 inches high (or about five leaves), take them to an in-between area like a porch for 10 days or so to “harden off” or get them used to higher temperatures. Outside, it’s best to plant your celery on an overcast day rather than one that’s hot and sunny, because celery likes a gradual transition.

Space them 6 to 8 inches apart, with rows 2 to 3 feet apart, and no deeper than they were when planted in the pots. Once in the ground, add several inches of mulch at the base, give them 1 inch of water per week and use compost tea (recipe below) every 10 to 14 days. When temperatures fall below 55 degrees F, you can use cloches — bottomless, clear, gallon-sized jugs will do — to protect them. Remove them during the day when it gets warmer.

Composting and Troubleshooting Problems

For the best results, your garden dirt should be rich with compost or other organic matter when you plant vegetables like celery. Many people have grown gardens for years without it, but when you see the difference between those offerings and the produce grown in “black gold,” it’s very evident how important compost is. If you’ve ever had a chance to get a look and feel of the inside of a good compost pile, you may remember how amazingly warm it feels, almost steaming with heat.

Adding mature compost with good bacteria once in a while helps speed up the heating process. A good compost pile starts with a layer of straw (not hay) to discourage pests and weeds. Add garden and kitchen scraps such as coffee grounds and egg shells, along with horse stable bedding, garden plants (not weeds) and about one-third of the entire pile manure. A two-thirds ratio or so of leaves, grass or cornstalks allows for air flow.

Minuscule critters that sometimes infest celery include carrot rust flies, parsley worms, celery leaf tiers and nematodes. You’ll see evidence of one or more if you spot brown sunken spots on the celery stalks or joints that are turning black. Diseases1 are another thing to watch for in your celery, as well as other vegetables. Early blight (fall blight affects ornamental plants) may be evidenced by black dots on the leaves.

Both pests and diseases can be controlled by using disease-free seed and seedlings, and applying Trichoderma harzianum (a type of fungus) to the soil before planting. A baking soda spray helps prevent and control a disease called early blight, as well as powdery mildew and anthracnose. Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with 2 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

Add 1 gallon of water, dissolve one-half teaspoon of castile soap in it and pour the mixture into a pump sprayer. Thoroughly spray your plants, inside and out, every five to seven days.2 Pink rot may appear if the roots or bottoms of the plants sit in water for too long, and fungus and rusting disease may cause plants to wilt or turn yellow. Rotate your crops to help curb these diseases, but if you see a plant or even just a stalk wilting, cut out the entire bad area and destroy any affected plant parts.

Compost Tea: A Fertilizing Recipe

Compost tea isn’t for your cup or glass; it’s a fertilizing blend that celery (and other veggies) can soak up as they’re growing to supply helpful nutrients they wouldn’t get otherwise. It also discourages harmful fungus from forming. Here’s what you need:

Equipment Required

  • A 40-gallon barrel or a large wooden crate made from pallets, ideally with steel chicken wire on two or three sides.
  • Mature, earthy-smelling compost
  • Water
  • Cheesecloth or burlap

Compost tea procedure:

  • Place compost and water (1 part water for 1 part compost) in the barrel or crate, placed away from excessive cold or heat.
  • Stir the “tea” with a sturdy stick every day for at least five days. A good tea should be somewhere between 135 and 155 degrees F or more, reached by regularly “turning” the compost pile.
  • Strain the liquid through the cheesecloth or burlap. Use immediately, as is.

Notes: Make sure the compost still smells fresh during the straining process and that it’s not bubbling, indications of an anaerobic environment, which harms rather than helps the soil. Rodale’s Organic Life says, “A well-built pile that has composted for at least a year will also produce tea-ready compost even if it did not heat up to the ideal temperature range.” Achieve either a good, hot compost pile quickly3 or a “mature” pile maintained over a year or more.

Harvesting and Other Tips for Adult and Junior Gardeners

As noted, celery is considered a summer crop in the North and a winter crop in the South. To get a fall crop (sometimes called a second harvest) sow your celery seed indoors in May or June for transplanting outside in June or July. In the regions where celery grows best, rich soil, lots of water and respite from blistering sun and high temperatures are the basics that make all the difference. Of course, this depends on the gardening zone where you live, but remember that shade is required for this tender crop when it’s hot and humid.

Harvest your celery by cutting it off just below the soil line, but did you know you can “regrow” celery from the base of the stalk? In fact, Mother Earth News notes: “If you’re growing celery in moist garden soil, stalk celery can be handled as a cut-and-come-again crop — just harvest a few outer stalks at a time.”4 This concept is a popular one for kids, who are fascinated (as they should be!) by the fact that a tiny seed can become a large, delicious food.

Simply cut all the stalks off at one time, leaving you with a flat, light green base, usually a little dirty on the bottom. Rinse it well, place it in a shallow cup of warm water (rinsed and exchanged daily) and set it in a windowsill. An experimental gardener told Mother Nature Network:

“There was little to do except change the water and look at it daily for changes. As the middle of the base of celery began to regrow healthy, dark green leaves and eventually stalks, the outside of the base began to turn brown and break down.”5

In five days or so, you’ll see the center of your little celery operation growing in the center, beginning with green leaves and eventually sturdy little stalks. When the initial base turns crusty and breaks apart, your little restart can be put into a pot of organic soil outside. It may take three months or longer to for a mature stalk of celery.

How Celery Helps Maintain Health, Weight and Other Secrets

One trade secret of people who like to maintain a healthy weight is the fact that celery is a delicious, satisfying, crunchy snack with very few calories, but it’s also loaded with fiber. Eating a single cup of chopped celery provides 6 percent of your Daily Reference Intake (DRI), not to mention high amounts of vitamins A, C, K, folate, potassium and manganese.6

Along with several other phytonutrients, celery contains a number of flavonoids such as lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, which studies indicate decreases inflammation along with your risk of heart disease. It also inhibits the growth of abnormal cancer-causing cells and enhances your overall immune system. Celery has many different types of uses. One is juicing, which helps add vital nutrients to your diet while ridding your body of toxins.

One thing about our soil nowadays is that many nutrients are simply not present to the degree they were, say, 50 years ago. One scientist maintains that, to get the same amount of iron people used to get about 70 years ago, today you’d have to eat 36 servings of them! The only viable way to do that is by juicing, which provides a “shot” of immediately bioavailable enzymes, vitamins and minerals.

Diabetes, colitis, chronic pain, sleep apnea, asthma and many other diseases and disorders have proved to be significantly reduced simply by juicing. One study showed that juicing more than three times a week lowered participants’ risk for developing Alzheimer’s,7 so it supports brain health, but juicing also boosts your immune system, and increases your energy as well as your intake of structured water.

You can use several organic veggies at a time, such as combining kale or other greens, cucumbers, celery, herbs, strawberries, blueberries, limes, ginger, cinnamon and many more foods, all of which help to increase your nutrient intake.

Eating fermented vegetables like celery is an excellent way to develop a healthy gut flora and avoid gastrointestinal disorders and infections that become more prevalent with age. Consuming one-half cup of fermented veggies daily helps maintain healthy microbiota in your intestines, and helps reduce heart disease, obesity and even cancer.