The Real Health Benefits of Celery Juice, Revealed
While some of the touted benefits of celery juice are indeed exaggerated, drinking the juice (or eating the veggie as a snack or in soups and salads) does come with health perks:
1. Celery Juice Can Help You Reach Your Vitamin and Mineral Goals
The vitamin and mineral content in celery is nothing to overlook: Celery juice offers vitamin K, potassium, vitamin A, and folate, says Palumbo. For example, one serving of celery (which is 110 grams [g]) has 32 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K, and women 19 and older need about 90 mcg per day — so that one serving provides over a third of a woman’s needs for the day.
“Vitamin K is a nutrient we don’t think about all that often, but it’s associated with bone health,” says Palumbo. “When it comes to bone health, we typically just pay attention to calcium and vitamin D, but research is emerging on why vitamin K is necessary, too,” Palumbo adds. “And as women get older, it’s important to know what can help keep bones strong.” A review published in the May–August 2017 issue of Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism suggests vitamin K may work with vitamin D to improve bone health and prevent fractures, in addition to boosting vascular health in people with kidney failure.
Potassium is another surprise nutrient in celery — a 1-cup serving of celery has more than half of the potassium that’s in a medium-sized banana, a fruit that’s famed for its high potassium content. Plus, when you drink celery juice, you’re likely getting over a single serving of celery, which is an advantage when you consider how many stalks you’d need to produce 16 oz of juice (the Medical Medium recommends one large bunch of celery).
Before crowning it a miracle food, though, says Moore, it’s important to note that celery is like many other fruit and vegetables that contain potassium (which, Moore says, has been shown to lower blood pressure when eaten as part of a heart-healthy diet. It’s not the be-all and end-all source.
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2. Celery Juice Provides Beneficial Antioxidants
“Like other plant foods, celery juice contains phytonutrients — such as phenolic acid and flavonoids,” says Palumbo. And phytonutrients, which have antioxidant properties like preventing cell damage, should be an important part of your diet, notes MedlinePlus.
A November 2015 review in Molecules suggests that eating a diet rich in phytonutrients may lower your odds of developing certain diseases. That said, just drinking celery juice alone likely won’t give you all the phytonutrients you need, says Palumbo. You’ll have to eat other fruit and vegetables, too.
“A person who drinks 16 oz of celery juice each morning might think, Well, I am done for the day in terms of getting in all my vegetables and fruit,” says Palumbo. “But that’s not ideal because people need to eat a variety of vegetables and fruit to get all the phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and more that help keep them healthy.”
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3. Celery Juice Can Help Keep You Hydrated
“Because celery is primarily water, you get the hydration value by drinking celery juice — or eating it,” says Palumbo. For example, that 1-cup serving of celery equates to 101 g, of which 96.38 are water. That pencils out to about 95 percent H2O.
So, if you’re burned out on plain water, then celery juice might be a good hydration alternative. Though know: “It’s much more expensive than drinking water itself,” says Moore.
Staying hydrated is important for your overall health — dehydration can mess with your thinking, affect your mood, cause constipation, and even lead to kidney stones, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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4. Celery Juice, Along With Other Vegetables, May Help Combat Inflammation
As far as research goes, celery isn’t a cure-all for inflammation. “Celery may help to reduce inflammation, but it’s not a magical anti-inflammatory juice,” says Palumbo. “There’s one older study that looked at celery’s anti-inflammatory properties in vitro [in a test tube], and it seems to show anti-inflammatory benefits,” says McMordie. But those findings aren’t the same as if it was a study conducted on humans, McMordie adds, and researchers studied celery extract (not stalks), so more research is needed.
That said, it doesn’t hurt to put celery on your shopping list. “An anti-inflammatory diet is one that focuses on vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, nuts, and limited animal protein — and celery can certainly be a part of that diet,” says Palumbo.
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And there’s good reason to follow an anti-inflammatory diet for your health. One study published in September 2018 in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that participants who most closely followed an anti-inflammatory diet (that included ample vegetables, fruit, whole-grain bread, and nuts) had an 18 percent lower risk of death of all causes, a 20 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease, and a 13 percent lower risk of death from cancer compared with people who didn’t follow the anti-inflammatory diet as closely. Therefore, if you like celery juice, enjoy it along with other anti-inflammatory foods.
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5. Celery Juice May Contribute to Weight Loss
There’s no denying that celery is a low-calorie food — a 1-cup serving size, which equates to about one large stalk and one medium-sized stalk, is only 14 calories and 3 g carbs.
Even if you drink a whole 16 oz of celery juice, you’re still getting only about 30 to 45 calories and 6 to 9 g carbs. So for people who like juice, it could be an alternative to other drinks that are higher in calories and slightly higher in carbs (like orange juice and apple juice).
Given all that, the Medical Medium claims that celery can help you shed pounds by detoxifying the liver, saying “a sluggish, toxic liver is behind mystery weight gain.” Dietitians like Palumbo, however, disagree. “The best way to detox is to clean up your diet by minimizing overly processed foods and eating more whole foods, like vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and grains; do this and your liver and digestive tract will do a fine job,” she says.
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Where the Health Claims About Celery Juice Fall Short
Go in search of evidence about celery juice’s benefits, and you probably won’t find much. “In terms of studies about dramatic health effects of celery juice, the research is just not there,” says Palumbo.
According to the Medical Medium, celery juice prevents high blood pressure. Yet an April 2013 pilot study published in Natural Medicine Journal found that taking celery seed extract in capsule form — not drinking it as a juice or eating it — may decrease blood pressure. The study authors also note in the paper that “the research on the blood pressure–lowering effect of celery and celery extracts is quite preliminary, and double-blind studies are necessary to confirm its clinical efficacy and safety.” Furthermore, the aforementioned authors are not exactly independent: Two of the researchers are “directors in BioActives LLC,” the supplier of the celery seed extract used in the study, so there is a chance they had a vested interest in producing positive study results.
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Other studies on celery haven’t been conducted on humans but rather on animals and in vitro. For example, in a study published in August 2010 in The Journal of Nutrition, celery helped reduce age-related memory issues in mice. Other research, published in February 2014 in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, found that a different flavonoid in celery decreased inflammation in the stomachs of gerbils.
The Medical Medium touts other hypothetical benefits, like helping with eczema and psoriasis, and preventing UTIs, but there’s little in the way of research to back these claims up either.
The Medical Medium also suggests that celery juice — without the pulp — can aid digestion. But when you drink celery juice, as opposed to eating the vegetable, you’re missing out on its fiber, which McMordie says, is one of the vegetable’s biggest perks: Dietary fiber helps you feel full faster and can help with digestion, notes MedlinePlus. “If someone wants to try celery juice, I suggest blending it up rather than juicing it, so you can keep [more of] the fiber,” she adds. This way, you’ll actually get some of the real digestive benefits.
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Bottom Line: Should You Be Drinking Celery Juice for Better Health and Weight Loss?
Still interested in the celery juice trend? Great, but just know this: “While drinking celery juice every morning isn’t necessarily harmful, it’s not the only thing you should be doing to keep up a healthy diet and gain more energy,” says Palumbo.
Also, if you’re not juicing your own celery, pay attention to the ingredients list. “Many commercially available celery juice drinks contain fruit juices and other ingredients that may contribute added sugars and other ingredients,” says Moore.
And next time you’re scrolling through Instagram and see a celebrity praising one specific food, proceed with caution. “Be careful about where you get your nutrition information — make sure the person is credible and has credentials like a RDN [registered dietitian nutritionist]; you don’t want to be taking information from just anybody,” advises McMordie.