Here’s Everything You Need to Know About the Celery Juice Trend
If there was a miracle medicine that could protect against high blood pressure, chronic inflammation, acid reflux, and a host of other health issues — and all you had to do was drink it once a day — you’d be all in, right? Especially if you found out it was for sale right at your local supermarket, no expensive co-pays or insurance claims required?
Well, if you believe the hype, that miracle medicine exists — and it’s as simple as tossing a few boring ol’ celery sticks into a blender. That’s right: Drinking celery juice has become a serious trend, and according to its devotees it’s a game-changer when it comes to health.
Juicing, of course, is nothing new, and juice-based cleanses and liquid diets are always super popular this time of year. But the celery juice trend is different: The concoction isn’t supposed to replace any meals or provide you with liquid calories; rather, it’s meant to be consumed on top of your regular diet.
So what’s the point? Fans of the celery juice trend say the veggie juice is packed with good-for-you antioxidants and minerals that can improve everything from digestion to immunity to emotional health. But do medical experts agree? Here’s a brief history of the current celery juice craze, and a look at the science (or lack thereof) behind it.
What is the celery juice trend?
The celery juice trend has been popping up all over the place in recent months, including morning television, women’s magazines, Instagram, and celebrity-owned lifestyle sites. Of course Gwyneth is a fan, and Kim Kardashian recently posted about trying celery juice (“pretty gross,” she said) because it’s supposed to help treat psoriasis.
Read more: Actually, You Can Just Drink Some Water from The Atlantic
According to the Medical Medium — who is not a doctor or licensed medical professional, by the way — celery is most powerful when consumed in liquid form. “I’ve seen thousands of people who suffer from chronic and mystery illness restore their health by drinking 16 ounces of celery juice daily on an empty stomach,” he writes on his website.
The Medical Medium claims that celery juice can reverse the inflammation that causes many chronic and autoimmune illnesses. It’s also rich in “undiscovered sodium cluster salts,” he says, which have antiseptic properties and can kill viruses like shingles and bacteria like Streptococcus. Supposedly, those mineral salts also keep the brain functioning at top speed, balance the body’s pH, and “cleanse” the liver, kidneys, stomach, and thyroid.
How do you do it?
Die-hard celery juice proponents will tell you that the beverage should be consumed on its own — not in combination with other fruits or vegetable juices, which could weaken celery’s healing powers. It should also be consumed first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach.
To make celery juice, the Medical Medium recommends rinsing one bunch of celery — organic, if possible — and running it through a juicer. No juicer? Chop the celery finely and put it in a blender at high-speed until smooth, then strain well.
Drink celery juice immediately for best results, the Medical Medium suggests. He recommends drinking at least 16 ounces every day, but if that seems like too much for you, “start with a smaller amount and work your way up,” he says.
Celery juice is not very caloric, he points out, so you’ll still need breakfast on top of that. But wait 15 to 30 minutes after your morning drink before eating anything else, in order for the celery juice to have the greatest effect.
Get a recipe: Medical Medium’s Celery Juice from GOOP
What does a nutritionist think of the trend?
Cynthia Sass, RD, CSSD, a New York- and Los Angeles-based performance nutritionist, agrees that celery does offer some pretty impressive benefits. “A lot of people think of celery as a throw-away vegetable,” she says. “But in addition to being very low in calories and a source of fiber, celery provides vitamin K, folate, potassium, and over a dozen types of antioxidants.”
Natural substances in celery have also been shown to help optimize circulation, she says, as well as boost endurance and enhance strength training when consumed pre-workout.
And the Medical Medium is also right that celery contains potent anti-inflammatory substances, which are thought to help protect against cellular damage and support a healthy gut.
“However,” she says, “there is very little research about celery juice — so the potential benefits aren’t well established, nor are the optimal portion or frequency of consumption.” Without studies to back up the numerous claims about celery juice, there’s no way to know the full picture of benefits and potential risks for certain people.
For example, celery juice may interact with medications and supplements, or may cause allergic reactions — especially for people who are sensitive to birch, dandelion, and other plants. Celery (and its juice) may also increase sensitivity to sunlight, Sass says, which could raise people’s risk of sunburn.
Then there’s the question of drinking it, rather than eating it in its natural form. “While celery juice is more concentrated, and therefore more nutrient-packed, it’s also not as filling as eating whole celery,” says Sass. “And it’s bitter.” (If you can’t stomach the strong taste of pure celery juice, the Medical Medium suggests starting out by adding one cucumber or one apple to your mix — then gradually upping the ratio of celery as you get used to it.)
Sass says celery juice is fine to consume daily, as long as you’re not allergic to it. “But don’t rely on celery juice as a panacea,” she adds. And don’t stress too much about whether you’re juicing it first thing in the morning, drinking it all by itself, or chomping on fresh-cut stalks alongside your sandwich at lunch, since there’s no evidence that one way is better than the other.
Lastly, Sass says, don’t assume that celery juice alone will give you all of the nutrients you need to battle illness and function at your best. (While celery is good for you, its nutritional profile is still pretty limited.) “Consume celery or celery juice along with a wide array of other veggies as part of a clean, balanced, whole foods diet,” she says.