Celery juice. You may or may not have heard about it, but it’s the latest health trend sweeping social media. It has a few different titles (including “The Celery Challenge”) and hashtags, but the gist of it involves drinking 8-16oz of fresh celery juice upon waking up in the morning for a variety of health benefits.
Last year, I remember a few posts popping up on my Instagram feed about it. The ones that intrigued me the most were testimonials from individuals with gut and digestive health-related ailments. They shared moving accounts of how since incorporating celery juice, they’d experienced significant improvements in their daily quality of life.
As someone who suffers from gut issues, they had me intrigued. I’ve written before about some of my GI struggles and sensitivities. It’s an ongoing struggle to which I’m seeking answers. As I write this, I’m currently waiting on some medical tests to come back and am most likely headed to a gastrointestinal specialist after my doctor has a chance to look over my results.
I’m always interested in hearing what other individuals who struggle with GI issues have found helpful or healing. Whether it’s a food, supplement or diet technique I can incorporate into my routine, I’m always looking to learn. From there, I can do a little research or talk to my doctor and decide if it’s something safe and practical for me to try.
To be honest, while I’d been intrigued by some of the testimonials I’d read about celery juice, I forgot to follow up on it. Then a few weeks ago, I was invited to participate in a local Celery Juice Challenge. So I decided to do a little digging on this whole celery juice business.
Is celery juice just another fad? Are there any real potential benefits from juicing celery? And would participating in The Celery Challenge be something safe and realistic for me to try out? I decided to do a little research and find out.
If you Google celery juice, you’ll find a range of opinions celery juice online. From talk show hosts, celebrities, bloggers, news and magazines websites as well as independent nutrition pages and organizations, there’s a lot of buzz about this stuff. And among it, a lot of praise for various health benefits of celery juice.
I read some that seemed fairly reasonable:
- Sounder sleep
- Support heart health and blood pressure
- Reduce inflammation
- Boost immune system
…and a few that seemed like a pretty tall order to be filled with a glass of juice:
- Heal chronic illness
- Cure auto-immune disorders
- Cleanse the body of toxins
- Reverse infertility
- Cure cancer
So we’re going to break these claims down into two categories and take a look at what the research has to say.
The Extreme Claims
While there was quite a bit of praise surrounding celery juice, there was also some criticism. This was mainly directed towards some of the extreme claims surrounding celery juice’s restorative abilities.
More than a few articles from qualified doctors and nutritionists have been published in an attempt to quash over-the-top claims about the healing powers of celery juice. While celery as a vegetable does provide an impressive range of nutrients, experts in the medical and nutritional field have come forward wanting to make one point very clear: It is not some kind of magical cure-all tonic.
There are no reputable medical studies or scientific findings to support claims that celery juice alone can cure serious ailments or medical conditions.
A stick of celery or its juice can’t do the impossible. It can’t single-handedly cure cancer, reverse infertility or heal auto-immune diseases. It’s not going to “purify” or rid your body of “toxins” (that’s what your kidneys were made to do). And if you encounter anyone telling you to stop listening to your doctor and live off of nothing but celery juice and the energy of the universe until a serious health ailment vanishes… You should probably walk the other way.
The Reasonable Claims
Just because celery juice can’t do wild things (like file your taxes or cure the Black Plague) doesn’t mean that it has no potential health benefits to offer.
Celery is actually an excellent source of nutrients. It provides a solid dose of vitamins A, K and C, along with iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and particularly generous levels of potassium. It’s low in calories and sugar but rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, phytonutrients and beta carotene.
As is turns out, there are still some very practical reasons you might choose to drink celery juice on a regular basis.
Celery juice is a positive source of magnesium. This mineral plays some key roles in many of our daily bodily functions, including the regulation of neurotransmitters (specifically the ones responsible for soothing our mind/body) and managing melatonin (a hormone which helps guide our sleep cycles).
In my blog post on magnesium, we learned that a large number of Americans struggle to meet daily magnesium intake recommendations. Magnesium from celery juice may help you meet daily magnesium goals.
Support Heart Health and Blood Pressure
A 2011 study in Pharmacognosy Reviews found the extracts from celery seeds demonstrated anti-hypertensive attributes and people in a 2013 study in Natural Medical Journal were able to lower elevated blood pressure levels in conjunction with celery seed extracts.
An additional study in The Journal of Medicinal Foods found that celery extracts demonstrated promising antihypertensive properties. These extracts from celery may help support heart health and blood pressure by improving blood circulation.
Many people struggle with inflammation, from the GI tract to the joints. Celery is particularly rich in a variety of antioxidants, including flavonoids, which have demonstrated particularly promising anti-inflammatory properties.
A 2017 research review on the antioxidant activity of celery concluded that celery demonstrated “powerful antioxidant characteristics” with a wide range of benefits and healings effects.
Boost Immune System
Along with a rich dose of antioxidants, celery is brimming with vitamins to help strengthen and support the immune system. It is a positive source of vitamin C, vitamin K1 and provitamin A. Because of its much lower in sugar and calories, celery juice may also be more calorie-counter friendly morning beverage than other popular fruit juices (like orange or apple juice).
How Many Calories In A Cup?
Freshly pressed juice can be a powerhouse of micronutrients. It delivers vitamin and minerals in an easily absorbable, concentrated form. Of course, when you remove the fiber from fruits and vegetables through juicing, it can also be a concentrated source of sugar and calories (depending on what you’re juicing).
If you count calories or macros, it’s important to know what exactly you’re consuming when you drink a glass of juice. I’ve read some concerns about celery juice based on the potential surplus calories you may be guzzling down with each glass.
I encountered some vague definitions about what a serving of celery juice contains. Some articles simply defined a serving as “a glass” of celery juice without citing any specific measurements. I read others that labeled a serving as “a cup” but with varying nutritional ranges for how many calories that cup might contain (anywhere from 30-80 calories).
I wanted to know exactly how much celery goes into producing one 8oz fluid cup of celery juice. I also wanted a better picture of the macronutrient level of nutrients going into that cup, not just a vague calorie estimate. What was the sugar and carbohydrate content like for that cup of celery juice?
Since I was interested in participating in a local celery juice challenge, I wanted to know in advance if this was something that could realistically align with my nutritional goals and counting my daily macros. So I decided to do a little bit of home research.
To find out exactly how much celery it takes to produce one fluid cup of celery juice, I began by measuring out six 12-inch stalks of celery.
Then I cut my stalks into 6-inch pieces and busted out my juicer. One-by-one, I fed the 6-inch pieces into my juicer, keeping a tally as I went until I produced one 8oz cup of pure, fresh celery juice.
It took six of my 6-inch celery stalks to produce one fluid cup of celery juice (or three large 12-inch celery stalks total). From there, I looked to a couple different sources to calculate what those three large celery stalks translated into on a caloric and macronutrient level.
First I calculated the nutritional value of three large stalks of celery on MyFitnessPal’s nutrition calculator. According to it, my cup of celery juice rang in at 31 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein and 3 grams of sugar.
Just to be safe, I wanted to compare those calculations to at least one other credible source. So I also utilized the USDA’s National Nutrient Database to see what they had to say about celery juice.
This calculator did not provide an overall calorie count but rather focused on macro and micronutrients. According to it, the three large stalks of celery in my cup of juice contained 1.32 grams of protein, 0.33g of fat, 5.70g of carbs and 2.57g of sugar.
From a macronutrient standpoint, that’s considerably low in overall calories, sugar and carbohydrates. Particularly when compared to other types of juice, like apple juice (80 calories, 23g carbs and 17g sugar per cup on MyFitnessPal).
It was safe to say that I felt confident the additional calories, carbohydrates and sugar from a daily cup of celery juice weren’t enough to deter my interest in experimenting with celery juice in my own nutritional routine.
Celery Juice: Yay or Nay?
I’ve tried to make it clear in the past that I don’t believe in fad diets or wild non-scientifically based health claims. I believe in critical thinking and self-education. You only get one body, so do your due diligence by reading up on reliable sources, credible medical and scientific studies and talking to your doctor.
I also wholeheartedly believe that our diet has the potential to help or hurt us. In seeking as many nutrients as possible through wholesome food sources and utilizing vitamins and supplements to support (not bypass or replace it) a wholesome diet. And that it’s possible to safely and successfully incorporate juicing in moderation into that balanced, wholesome diet.
While celery juice isn’t some magical unicorn of natural healing, it does have some valuable plant-based nutrients to offer, both in whole and juice form. If there are some potential benefits to be gleaned that might improve to my quality of life or journey with digestive issues, I feel confident in giving it a go. So stay tuned, as I will be chronicling my own experience with The Celery Challenge here on the blog in the near future!
All writing copyright © 2019 Rachel Elise Woods
Images copyright © 2019 Rachel Elise Woods and Bigstock®
1. Nahida Tabassum and Feroz Ahmad. “Role of Natural Herbs in the Treatment of Hypertension.” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Pharmacognosy Review, 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210006/.
2. Maryam Hassanpour Moghadam, Mohsen Imenshahidi, and Seyed Ahmad Mohajericorresponding author. “Antihypertensive Effect of Celery Seed on Rat Blood Pressure in Chronic Administration.” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Journal of Medicinal Food, 16 June 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684138/.
3. Doddabele Madhavi, PhD, Daniel Kagan, PhD, Venkatesh Rao, MD, and Michael T. Murray, ND. “A Pilot Study to Evaluate the Antihypertensive Effect of a Celery Extract in Mild to Moderate Hypertensive Patients.” Natural Medicine Journal, Natural Medicine Journal, Apr. 2013, www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2013-04/pilot-study-evaluate-antihypertensive-effect-celery-extract-mild-moderate.
4. Wesam Kooti, MSc1 and Nahid Daraei, MSc2. “A Review of the Antioxidant Activity of Celery (Apium Graveolens L).” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, 22 Oct. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871295/.
5. Olsen, Natalie. “Benefits of Celery Juice.” Healthline.com, Healthline, 6 June 2017, www.healthline.com/health/celery-juice.
6. Gregory L. Hostetler, Ken M. Riedl, and Steven J. Schwartz. “Endogenous Enzymes, Heat, and PH Affect Flavone Profiles in Parsley (Petroselinum Crispum Var. Neapolitanum) and Celery (Apium Graveolens) during Juice Processing.” ACS Publications, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 30 Dec. 2011, pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf2033736.
7. London, Jaclyn. “Celery Juice Is the Latest B.S. Diet Fad Taking Over Instagram Right Now.” Good Housekeeping, Good Housekeeping Institute, 31 Jan. 2019, www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a25919032/celery-juice-benefits/.
8. Angle, Sara. “What Are the Benefits of Celery Juice? A Doctor Explains.” Parsley Health, Parsley Health, 16 Feb. 2019, www.parsleyhealth.com/blog/benefits-of-celery-juice/.
9. TodayShow, Kristin Kirkpatrick. “Can Celery Juice Cure All? A Dietitian Weighs in on This Trendy Drink.” TODAY.com, TODAY, 7 Jan. 2019, www.today.com/series/start-today/celery-juice-benefits-does-it-help-weight-loss-or-inflammation-t146318.
10. Thomas, Naomi. “Are the Celery Juice Health Benefits Real?” CNN, Cable News Network, 13 Nov. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/11/13/health/celery-juice-benefits-explainer/index.html.
11. Jennings, Kerri-Ann. “How Magnesium Can Help You Sleep.” Healthline , Healthline, 30 Apr. 2017, www.healthline.com/nutrition/magnesium-and-sleep#section2.
12. “Melatonin and Sleep.” National Sleep Foundation, National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/melatonin-and-sleep.
13. West, Helen. “6 Health Benefits of Vitamin A, Backed by Science.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 23 Aug. 2018, www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-a-benefits.
14. Ryan Raman. “7 Impressive Benefits of Vitamin C Supplements.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 18 Apr. 2018, www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-benefits.
15. Pearson, Keith. “Vitamin K1 vs K2: What’s the Difference?” Healthline, Healthline Media, 15 Sept. 2017, www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-k1-vs-k2#section2.