Celery Juice - yay or nay?
Green drinks and juicing have been a nutrition guru’s go-to for years now. If you read nutrition blogs or browse Instagram posts then you may have seen something about celery juicing. According to the Medical Medium, “Celery is truly the savior when it comes to chronic illness.” Which is a far contrast to what most people think of as a measly veggie that provides a bit of crunch in their ranch dip. Despite that, this health kick is sweeping the nation. I can’t believe the number of patients and friends that have asked me about this newfangled-fix-all! Who is behind this celery juice that is taking over the world, what does it taste like and most importantly, does it really work?!
First let’s talk about the man behind the green glass of goodness. He calls himself the Medical Medium. The following is what his bio looks like, “Meet Anthony William, #1 New York Times best-selling author... was born with the unique ability to converse with Spirit of Compassion who provides him with extraordinarily accurate health information that’s often far ahead of its time.” That’s pretty much it…a man whose advice millions are following with absolutely zero health, nutrition, science, anatomy or physiology background. Now mind you, eating a stalk of celery everyday isn’t bad advice, but is it going to cure all your ailments?
Let’s start with how the juice is supposed to be consumed. To really reap the benefits of celery juice, the stalks should be juiced (no pulp), consumed by itself (nothing added to it at all, not even ice), and a full 16 ounces are drank on an empty stomach first thing in the morning at least 30 minutes before breakfast.
The amount of celery to use is an entire stalk (not just a single rib) which is about 8 cups, roughly chopped. Nutrition information for 8 cups of celery (pre-juiced) is 113 calories, 5.6 grams protein, 1 gram of fat, 24 grams of carbohydrate, 13 grams of fiber (40% Daily Value, DV), 2101 mg potassium (105% DV), 25 mg Vitamin C (42% DV), 0.46 mg Riboflavin (27% DV), 0.6 mg Vitamin B6 (30% DV), 178 mcg RAE of Vitamin A (~20% DV), 237 mcg Vitamin K (nearly 300% DV) and various other vitamins and minerals. The nutrition profile is for those chewing the entire 8 or so cups of celery. Whenever you juice anything you remove most, if not all, of the fiber. Listen… can you hear your gut microbes crying? ☹
In addition to the quantifiable nutrition facts, celery also contains antioxidants that help protect against oxidative damage to our cells and tissues (think vibrancy and youth). They also contain phytochemicals (or phytonutrients) which have antioxidant like properties and other beneficial effects in the human body. Both, antioxidants and phytochemicals are found in all plant foods in varying amounts.
Before writing about this topic I had to try the trend out for myself. First, let’s talk about what the juice tastes like? Honestly, it’s not the worst thing I’ve tasted, it’s much like what you’d expect celery juice to taste like; a cold, grassy juice. The vibrant green drink is beautiful too, so that adds to its’ appeal. However, I didn’t like the laborious, wasteful process. During my short stint of celery juicing I started the process the night before (as to not wake my kiddos with the hum of our blender); each night I’d wash and roughly chop my organic celery and begin to blend, then I had to remove the pulp. I didn’t like that the pulp had to be sieved through mesh and tossed out (not an issue if you have a juicer, but in either case it’s wasteful). I searched for recipes to use the pulp but found nothing appealing, so I fed it to our chickens. Lastly, and most importantly, I missed my warm cup of coffee. Don’t get me wrong I drink a fair amount of water first thing in the morning, but I want to quickly follow that with my morning coffee. For me, it just wasn’t a good fit.
Even if the process seemed too time consuming, would I be willing to do it if science suggested? Well…the research behind the craze is sparse. I searched PubMed and Medscape and looked for other reliable resources and didn’t find much. However, I did learn that celery has been used for thousands of years as a homemade remedy for various ailments such as hangovers and digestive issues, like bloating.
Whether the science backs this trend, or not, perhaps part of the benefit of celery juicing is that the follower is consuming nearly 8 cups of veggies and 16 ounces of water before they wipe the sleep out of their eyes; the average person only eats two to three servings of veggies their entire day! In addition, this amount of celery is an excellent source (greater than 20% DV) of fiber and potassium (two nutrients that are inadequately consumed in the American population).
Does celery juicing work for you? I’ve heard believers of celery juice say their skin improved, they had more consistent bowel movements and they felt less bloated. If celery juicing makes me you feel better, then keep it up! If you feel better, do you need further reassurance than that?