Inside the hype surrounding celery juice
The latest trend in healthful foods and drink is celery juice. Many on social media, including celebrities, tout it as the next big thing – a cure for inflammation, a boost for gut health, a reducer of blood pressure. Actresses like Miranda Kerr and Busy Phillips and actor Robert DeNiro extoll the virtues and benefits of drinking a glass of celery juice every morning. It is such a popular drink, celery juice even has its own Instagram account!
Is celery really the miracle food it’s claimed to be? Let’s look at some of the claims, and some of the naysayers.
Actual benefits of celery
Dietician Kristin Kirkpatrick, writing for Today Health and Fitness notes that there are many benefits to eating celery — the actual vegetable. Celery contains lots of vitamins C and K, flavonoids, and folate and potassium. All are beneficial for the body. Plus, a rib of celery has only seven calories and one gram of sugar. Kirkpatrick notes that celery (the vegetable itself) “… may help to fight against cancer and liver disease, reduce inflammation(especially for brain-related diseases) and boost cardiovascular health.”
Celery is also a good source of fiber, which experts agree is important in a healthful diet. It contains .6 grams of fiber in a medium stalk. Fiber reduces cholesterol, helps with feelings of fullness, and aids in bowel regularity.
The most popular juice today
Celery juice is miraculous, according to Gwyneth Paltrow’s website Goop, which showcases Anthony Williams “The Medical Medium.” Williams claims that a spirit guide helps him make decisions about nutrition. (Williams himself has no medical or nutritional education or training.) Williams’ claims about celery juice border on the fanatic. He calls celery juice a miracle cure: “I’ve seen thousands of people who suffer from chronic and mystery illnesses restore their health by drinking sixteen ounces of celery juice daily on an empty stomach. That’s why, long ago, I started the movement of drinking pure, straight celery juice. Since my books came out sharing the benefits of celery juice even more widely, it’s become a global movement.”
Williams claims the best way to consume it is first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything else. Interestingly, Goop has a disclaimer at the bottom of its page about celery juice as extolled by Williams: “This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.”
Not so fast – the reality of celery benefits
A number or dieticians and nutritionists were interviewed by The Atlantic and most scoffed at the hype surrounding celery juice. Registered dietician Ashley Koff notes, “There is no one food that will cure your cancer, inflammatory disease, or other ailments, so don’t believe the hype you see and hear on Instagram.”
Dietician Kristin Kirkpatrick, in Today Health and Fitness, says celery juice is actually less nutritious than just eating celery. For one thing, it removes fiber when you juice it. Fiber helps us feel full and aids in weight loss. She also notes that in concentrating celery into juice the sugar is increased – 11 grams in an eight-ounce serving. Most commercially made juices include apple or other fruits and that increases the sugar in the mixture, which isn’t good. Additionally, no extensive studies of humans consuming celery juice have been done, so there is no hard evidence showing it has any particular benefits.
So should we drink celery juice? Kirkpatrick points out that it’s far better for us than drinking sodas or sugary drinks. However, she cautions that the most benefit to be gained comes from just eating celery. Kirkpatrick: “We should not, however, fool ourselves that it can reverse an unhealthy diet, reduce belly fat or cure a chronic condition. Instead, it can be a great addition alongside a whole foods approach that incorporates plenty of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and lean sources of protein.”