Celery Juice Is the Latest Gut Health Trend — But Should You Try It?
By: Allie Flinn
- Drinking celery juice first thing in the morning has become a popular trend among the wellness set.
- Enthusiasts say it can help with high blood pressure, inflammation, and gut health.
- Experts say that celery juice contains potentially beneficial bioactives and vitamins, but more research still needs to be done.
- Read on for a detoxifying celery juice recipe that you can actually stomach.
Celery has never really been a particularly swoon-worthy vegetable. Have you ever heard someone wax poetic about celery the way they do about avocado? People aren’t selling shirts on Etsy with celery puns on them — in fact, the only celery pun that comes to mind is something about “celery-brating” and honestly, that’s terrible. No one “celery-brates” celery. Until now.
Celery — specifically, celery juice — is a bona fide thing. You can thank influencers like The Balanced Blonde and celebs like Busy Philipps and Miranda Kerr for bringing it into the spotlight. They drink celery juice every morning, and the purported benefits include lowered blood pressure, improved gut health, and decreased inflammation — but should you try it?
Celery juice benefits: Is there any science behind the trend?
The studies about the benefits of drinking celery juice are scarce — like a finding something at a Lululemon sample sale that’s both cute and your size rarity. Here’s what the experts have to say. Is celery juice safe after all?
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Helps stomach inflammation: Celery contains a bioactive compound called apigenin that could help with stomach inflammation, Dr. William Li, MD, author of “Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How the Body Can Heal Itself,” says, pointing to a 2013 study. “In this experiment, the rat-sized dose of apigenin was equivalent to the amount found in 357 grams of celery, which is about 3.5 cups of chopped celery for humans,” he says. (That’s a lot of tuna salad.)
Slows breast cancer: In mouse studies, apigenin was also shown to reduce the growth of breast cancer, Li adds.
Stops prostate cancer growth: “Luteolin, another natural chemical found in celery, can shut down the growth of prostate cancer stem cells by 20-fold,” Li says. “Cancer stem cells help make more cancer cells, so stopping them is a goal in cancer research.”
He cautions that these studies were done on animals, so it’s hard to directly translate the benefits to humans. “But it’s notable that there are useful properties found within celery,” he says.
Lowers blood pressure: Celery seed extract was found in a study to help reduce blood pressure in rats. But, a juice isn’t going to contain the seed. Dana Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, senior dietician at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, thinks that it’s likely the potassium content and low sodium of celery juice that might help lower blood pressure. “Yet, it is important to understand that almost any fruit or vegetable that is fairly high potassium and low in sodium could do the same thing,” she adds. (Side note: burn.) She also notes that celery contains antioxidants that may help decrease inflammation.
Is drinking celery juice safe?
For the most part, yes. “Drinking celery juice is generally safe,” Li says. However, he cautions people taking medications that interact with grapefruit juice to be careful when considering adding celery juice to their morning routine. “Celery and grapefruit juice both contain natural chemicals called furanocoumarins that can raise the blood levels of certain medications. These medications include some statins, blood pressure, and anti-anxiety medications,” he explains.
Furanocoumarins are, in addition to being a word no one can spell or pronounce correctly on the first try, compounds that inhibit the enzymes that break down medication in your bloodstream. “If less of the medicine is broken down due to furanocoumarins, you may have higher levels of those medicines, which could lead to increased side effects,” Li says.
But for most people, drinking celery juice in the morning doesn’t have any drawbacks. “If a patient of mine said they wanted to drink one serving of plain celery juice on a daily basis, I would not discourage it as a part of a healthy balanced diet,” Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN of Maya Feller Nutrition, says. “It’s a good source of vitamins and antioxidants with protective effects that may benefit overall health.” Plus, celery is low in sugar, so drinking it in juice form won’t make your blood sugar levels wonky like, say, drinking a serving of apple juice would.
So, will drinking celery juice upgrade your morning routine?
Only if the thought of drinking liquified celery doesn’t trigger your gag reflex. (Kidding. Sort of.) Overall, the consensus seems to be a sort of metaphorical shrugging emoji. “I think drinking celery juice is fine as an addition to the diet,” Hunnes says. Meaning: don’t rely on celery to cure all your woes. “You want to get a balance of nutrients from a variety of foods. We reduce nutrition too much to what a nutrient or a particular food can do rather than look at them in the context of a whole diet,” she adds.
“Fresh celery juice is low in fructose, and packed with vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate. These vitamins are great for improving our immune system, which is our body’s main defender against illnesses from the common cold to cancer,” Li says. But, he notes, celery isn’t really higher in bioactives than any other vegetable. He recommends combining it with other veggies for more benefits — and also, it’ll taste way better.
Celery juice recipe
If you want to incorporate celery juice into your diet, try this Bulletproof-approved celery juice recipe that contains more than just celery. (Because, again, it’s understandable if you can’t stomach the thought of straight-up celery juice.) This green juice features other detoxifying superstars like parsley, mint, cucumber and lime.
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