Why the Celery Juice Hype?
Food is medicine. Celery is food. Therefore, celery is medicine, right? Specifically in the form of celery juice? This is one of the big questions currently in the wellness world. If you scroll the 'gram you are sure to come upon a celery juice post. Made popular by the Medical Medium, Anthony William, celery juice is touted as the miracle green juice that can cure thyroid problems, neurological disorders, celiac, IBS, adrenal fatigue, Lyme's disease, brain fog, acne, chronic inflammation…and the list goes on. The healing power of celery juice, the medium asserts, is attributed to the yet to be discovered sodium cluster salts (also referred to as mineral salts) it contains that destroy pathogens, increase hydrochloric acid in the gut and that support the central nervous system.
William instructs to drink 16 ounces of celery juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to reap its healing benefits. Like any curious and willing participant, I decided to give it a go. Of all the diet trends and fads, I figured I could try celery juice because after all it is a whole food and it couldn’t hurt to incorporate more celery into my diet. I drank celery juice consistently for at least 4 months, and off and on for another 3 months and here is what I found.
1. Claim: Heals chronic fatigue.
My observation: Let me preface my experience with the fact that I have three children… 3 boys to be specific…one of which is a two-year old. Needless to say, I am tired…Oh. So. Tired. I had high hopes that this miracle juice would have me bounding out of bed, singing with the birds and flipping pancakes before the boys ventured downstairs. (High expectations much?) While I did notice a little bump in energy, I wouldn’t say that it was anything to write home about, and it was no more energy than what I would experience from drinking my regular green juice (kale, celery, apple, lemon and ginger). Now, someone who eats the Standard American Diet (SAD) and suddenly starts drinking a daily celery juice may very well experience a large boost in energy but for someone like me who already eats a plant based diet, juices and has smoothies on a regular basis, I really just didn’t see it.
2. Claim: Improvement in symptoms of anxiety/depression.
My observation: I have always been anxious and seasonal depression can hit me pretty hard. Again, I drank my celery juice and crossed my fingers and my toes that something so simple and natural would cure my symptoms. And again, no luck. I definitely think that the celery juice had a placebo effect on me at first, but over time I just didn’t feel that different.
3. Claim: Improved digestion.
My observation: Ok you win celery juice. Constipation be gone. Celery juice did the trick every morning and I’m going to leave that one right there. Also, I noticed that if I indulged or went out to eat the night before then I actually craved celery juice the next morning because I knew it would make my digestive tract feel so much better.
At this point I’m sure it looks like I am anti-celery juice, but in fact I am not. I am in favor of celery and even celery juice if that’s how someone chooses to consume their celery. What I am not in favor of is its use as a cure-all. If a client asks me if they should start drinking celery juice to improve their digestion, aid in detox, improve blood sugar control, help their thyroid function, etc.…I’d say sure why not? There is no harm in trying it for a month and gauging its effects. This, however, would not be my sole prescription. Moreover, why not consume the celery in whole form and gain the added benefit of extra fiber that is lost in juicing.
With that being said let’s look at the actual proven benefits of celery. Celery is made up of seeds, leaves and stems all containing medicinal properties. Celery contains flavonoids, vitamins A, C, B6, manganese, potassium and other vitamins and minerals making celery more nutrient dense than you might think. Here are some of the benefits of consuming celery:
Aids in hydration- Celery has a high water content thereby helping you to achieve daily hydration needs.
A natural source of electrolytes- Celery contains potassium, sodium, magnesium, chloride and phosphorus making it a great source of electrolytes. Ditch the Gatorade that is full of dyes and “natural” flavors and opt to make a natural electrolyte replacement containing celery.
Fiber- Celery is an excellent source of insoluble fiber (about 2 grams/cup) which aids in digestion, weight loss and lowering cholesterol.
Good for heart health- Celery contains the compound n-butylphthalide (NBP) that has been shown to improve blood lipid profiles and to lower blood pressure. 1,2
Acts as a diuretic- The same compound cited above, NBP, has diuretic properties that can aid in detox and help beat the bloat.
Antioxidant- Celery contains several compounds that are powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals. 3 By taking out free radicals, celery plays double duty by fighting inflammation caused by free radicals.
Aids in weight loss- Celery has a low calorie content, just 16 calories per cup. That combined with its fiber content makes it a great choice on a low calorie diet.
Antibacterial/Antifungal- Celery seeds contain essential oils, mostly limonene, that have antibacterial and antifungal properties. 4
Protects gastric lining- Celery has a protective effect on the gastric mucosa thereby decreasing the incidence of ulcers. 4,5
A final note: Celery is frequently on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list. This means that it is sprayed with multiple pesticides. A large percentage of conventional celery tested contains pesticide residue. Buy organic when possible or wash conventional celery thoroughly.
1. Tsi D, Das NP, Tan BK. Effects of aqueous celery (Apium graveolens) extract on lipid parameters of rats fed a high fat diet. Planta Med. 1995; 61(1):18-21.
2. Moghadam MH, Imenshahidi M, Mohajeri SA. Antihypertensive effect of celery seed on rat blood pressure in chronic administration. J Med Food. 2013;16(6):558-63.
3. Kooti W, Daraei N. A Review of the Antioxidant Activity of Celery ( Apium graveolens L). J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2017;22(4):1029-1034.
4. Kooti, Wesam & Ali-Akbari, Sara & Asadi-Samani, Majid & Ghadery, Hosna & ashtary-larky, Damoon. (2015). A review on medicinal plant of Apium graveolens. Advanced Herbal Medicine. 1. 48-59.
5. Tawfeq Al-Howiriny, Abdulmalik Alsheikh, Saleh Alqasoumi, Mohammed Al-Yahya, Kamal ElTahir & Syed Rafatullah (2010) Gastric antiulcer, antisecretory and cytoprotective properties of celery (Apium graveolens) in rats. Pharmaceutical Biology, 48:7, 786-793.