The celery juice craze hit with a vengeance and doesn’t show signs of slowing down any time soon. It was popularized by the Medical Medium, who has written three books about natural healing, which gained the attention of some big names in the celebrity world. The man behind the brand, Anthony William, doesn’t get his information from medical journals or science research, but from insights from Spirit.
So what’s the deal with celery juice? According the Medical Medium: “Celery is truly the savior when it comes to chronic illness. 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.”
To get to the bottom of these claims, I wanted to see what the science community has to say, in support of, or against, the Medical Medium’s claims. I want to clarify, though, that I do have friends who have personally experienced healing results from drinking celery juice, and my intention is not to tell you to drink celery juice or not—this is a personal choice, and if something is working for you, you should do it! The purpose of this article is to use science to help you make an informed decision that best suits you, if celery juicing is something you have been considering.
From personal experience, I gave up an experiment with celery juicing after 3 days because the stores by my house sold out of organic celery. Yes, it is so popular that grocery stores in Los Angeles are selling out of celery. I simply couldn’t keep enough of it in my house to continue. Personal anecdotes aside, here are the health claims made by the Medical Medium, and what Science has to say about them:
Claim: Restored gut health and improved digestion.
What Science Says: Celery does have a small diuretic effect and may help digestion. It can reduce bloating and water retention, but there are many vegetables and fruits that provide the same benefit of restoring fluid balance and homeostasis.
Bottom Line: The claim that celery is the single vegetable that can do this is simply not true.
Claim: Reduced inflammation and improvement of autoimmune conditions.
What Science Says: Celery contains phytochemicals and antioxidants that are connected with reducing inflammation, which may reduce autoimmune symptoms and disease risk. However, many vegetables, fruits and herbs also provide this benefit. Flavonoids, along with carotenoids, are responsible for the vivid colors in fruits and vegetables, and are the compounds responsible for most of celery’s health benefits. But here is a list of vegetables and herbs that contain more flavonoids than celery: red onions, fava beans, parsley, hot peppers, rutabagas, most herbs, edible leaves, and roots.
Bottom Line: True, but not a celery-only perk (lots of other veggies and herbs will give you the same benefit!).
Claim: Balanced pH in the body, detoxed liver and cleaner blood
What Science Says: Celery does not detox the bloodstream or liver or change the body’s internal pH. Food can’t do this. In fact, the idea of detoxing the body with food is a myth created and supported by diet culture. Our liver is an incredible organ, and our body’s built-in detox system (the kidneys, skin and lungs) are involved in detoxifying processes all the time as well, but for the purpose of this article, I am focusing on our digestive system. It is involved in over 500 metabolic processes occurring all the time (is it weird to be jealous of my liver’s stamina?).
Bottom Line: Totally false.
Claim: The reason the celery must be juiced rather than eaten it is because juicing and removing the pulp (fiber) is the only way to get the powerful healing benefits for healing chronic illness
What Science Says: There’s no sound scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than the juice you get by eating a fruit or vegetable in its whole form. While some soluble fiber will remain through the juicing process, you lose insoluble fiber, and we need both forms of fiber in a healthy diet.
Insoluble fiber, specifically, aids in digestion and supports healthy bowel movements. Together, insoluble and soluble fiber assist with digestion, reduce cholesterol levels, help control blood sugar levels and help with satiety.
It is recommended that adults consume 25-35 grams of fiber per-day; however, with the lack of adequate produce consumption by the average American, most people are well under this recommended amount.
Bottom Line: Since vegetables and fruit provide a lot of fiber in our diet, removing this crucial compound through the juicing process is not only NOT supported by science, but can contribute to insufficient fiber consumption, and digestion problems.
It is true that celery contains many important nutrients, such as Vitamins C and K, potassium, magnesium and iron, but pureeing/blending 1 pound of virtually any fruit or vegetable will yield nearly the same nutrient levels. There’s nothing “special” about celery, besides the fact that it’s a vegetable and we need a variety of vegetables as part of a healthy diet.
Based on my research, work as a nutritionist, and education as a student of clinical nutrition, I would say that jumping on board the celery juice craze isn’t necessary for a healthy life; however, including celery into your diet is definitely a good choice. Blending celery into a morning smoothie, including it in a soup recipe, or mixing it into a tuna salad—these are sustainable and interesting ways to incorporating it into your daily mix, without overcomplicating things or stressing yourself out about it, especially when everyone else is buying all the celery at the grocery store and it’s in short supply.
There are so many vegetables to choose from, and I think being truly healthy requires flexibility—if celery isn’t available, what else can/should you eat? Hint: If you eat the colors of the rainbow, every day, you’ll probably be just fine: science-supported statement.