You might pair celery with peanut butter, soups, and even cocktails, but the vegetable has a new gig: straight-up juice. From Pharrell to Gwyneth Paltrow to Behati Prinsloo, celebrities and wellness bloggers across all platforms have been promoting celery juice as a cure-all miracle drink. Currently, there are more than 89,000 #CeleryJuice posts on Instagram. Proponents claim that drinking it first thing in the morning can lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation, and improve gut health. Curious about the validity of these claims, we spoke with four nutrition professionals to clear up whether this is fad or fact.
Why Celery Juice Is Popular
Like coconut oil, kale, and avocado, celery juice is experiencing a rise in popularity. The mass amount of interest resembles that of previous health-food fads. This makes it hard to tell whether it’s gained acclaim for its real health properties or its trendiness at the moment. “Research tells us that eating several servings per day of vegetables and fruits as part of a well-balanced diet is certainly beneficial to our health,” notes Julie Andrews, M.S., R.D.N., C.D., creator of The Gourmet RD. “However, we love to fixate on one food or nutrient to ‘cure’ us or to prevent disease. Celery is certainly good for us but shouldn’t be the only thing we focus on to improve our health.”
Mascha Davis, M.P.H., R.D.N., national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and creator of Nomadista Nutrition, agrees. “Celery juice is mostly marketed for its alleged ability to detoxify the body. Such products are always very popular because consumers like products that are supposed to be a quick fix. It’s easier to have juice in the morning than change your lifestyle.”
That being said, it’s important to note that celery juice isn’t a complete sham (if you’d even consider it a sham at all). There are noticeable pros to including the drink in your diet. Most obviously, it’s hydrating. This should come as no surprise seeing as celery is 95 percent water. “Drinking a glass of water in the morning helps with digestion. So, drinking celery juice may result in effects often seen with simply drinking more water: feeling better, having an easier time focusing, feeling less hungry, or better digestion,” Davis explains.
Unlike water, though, celery—often even when juiced—contains vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to your health. Kaleigh McMordie, R.D.N., creator of Lively Table, points out that it contains vitamins K and C. These play important parts in bone health, blood clotting, the immune system, and skin health. On top of that, it also contains flavonoids that can help reduce inflammation.
Celery juice can also be an ideal post-workout drink, adds Karen Brennan, M.S.W., N.C., a board-certified holistic nutritionist and the creator of Tru Foods Nutrition. “Celery juice, or eating celery, can replace electrolytes lost via sweating, such as potassium and sodium,” she says.
Taking the nutrient content into account—as well as the fact that juicing allows you to pack a lot of celery into just one glass—it’s no surprise that people frame celery juice as a cure-all.
Like most health-food trends, celery juice has its flaws. It’s not, in fact, a cure-all. One of the main reason for this is that it strips the celery of its fiber. “Depending on the way the juice is made, celery juice is probably lacking the beneficial fiber found in celery. And if it’s heat-processed, it’s probably missing the majority of that vitamin C,” McMordie says. The irony here is that in juicing this very trendy vegetable, you’re probably losing two of its most notable benefits. Most people are already sorely lacking in fiber with their current diets, so adding a fiberless drink into the mix does no favors.
Not to mention that no matter how you go about it, the process can be expensive. Whether you’re buying juice straight from a store, purchasing the amount of celery needed to drink it daily, or splurging on a juicer, you’re spending a hefty amount of money. If you want to make your money go further for a healthy diet, focus on whole foods and balanced meals instead.
“With that said, celery juice likely isn’t harmful, so if it’s something you really enjoy and find that it helps improve whatever ails you (like digestive distress, for example), then it can certainly have its place in a healthy lifestyle,” Andrews assures.
Go For Homemade
If you do happen to be in the camp that benefits from celery juice or you’d like to give it a go, these nutrition professionals highly encourage making the juice at home. “When you make your own juice, you should consume it within a few hours to reap the full nutrient benefits. The ones sitting on your store shelf are most likely already depleted of the nutrient content,” Brennan explains. Making celery juice at home allows you to be in control of its ingredients. Because, yes, even store-bought products labeled “celery juice” are likely to contain much more than just celery in their ingredients.
But if you’re going to buy or order celery juice, take a good look at its label. “If you buy bottled celery juice, it’s important to check what’s in it,” McMordie says. “If the fiber has been removed in the juicing process and if there are added ingredients like sweeteners, it may not be as healthful as you’d like.” This goes for all shelved juices and smoothie drinks.
In most cases, celery juice definitely isn’t bad for you. At the same time, it’s not the health cure that many famous people claim it is. An easier way to include the fibrous, hydrating vegetable in your diet is to add it into your meals and snacks. Pair it with hummus or peanut butter, throw it into a soup, mix it into tuna salad, or blend it in a smoothie. All these ways allow you to reap all the benefits of celery juice and more—without juicing the celery.