The wellness movement has introduced many niche health practices into the mainstream. I’m thinking of mixing medicinal mushrooms and herbs into coffee, blending collagen powder into smoothies, and sweetening desserts with fruit instead of sugar. And recently, guzzling celery juice. Perhaps you’ve seen the green drink flowing from the spout of a juicer on Instagram videos. It seems like people who participate in wellness fads have traded their dark, leafy green juice for a new verdant one.
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Proponents of celery juice swear it helps with many health complications, from reducing inflammation (which some claim can ease symptoms of eczema, IBS, acid reflux, and acne), to supporting the immune system and reducing high blood pressure. Though it’s possible that people who suffer from these complications have experienced reduced symptoms since implementing celery juice into their diet, for the most part, experts do not yet back their claims.
Celery indeed contains nutrients: vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, potassium, and folate. “Celery also contains phytonutrients, which have antioxidant properties that can protect cells from damage caused by harmful compounds known as free radicals,” Ayla Gentiletti, a Registered Dietitian at Montefiore Medical Center, told me in an email.
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But that alone doesn’t mean there’s evidence to prove those other claims. “Many wellness seekers are constantly in search of the next silver bullet that can make all the difference in their health,” Keri Gans, a Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, and author of the Small Change Diet told me in an email. “As of present, the claims about what celery juice can do are not being supported by sound conclusive evidence within the scientific community.”
Most dietitians think it’s important to remind people that celery juice isn’t a miracle cure-all. Gentiletti acknowledges that celery contains myriad nutrients, but she’s more concerned with making sure that the general public knows that just because a “healthy” beverage becomes a fad doesn’t make everything that people say about it true. “Countless wellness bloggers and influencers can be seen touting its benefits… Unfortunately, [they] too often promote nutrition trends that lack sound scientific evidence to back their claims. Celery juice is no exception.”
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Another expert I spoke with takes a more lenient approach. “I am a believer in prioritizing whole foods for managing symptoms of various conditions… even if research is not fully developed yet,” Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Dietitian Nutritionist, and Master of Public Health Lauren Minchen told me. “I've had many patients with autoimmune and digestive conditions benefit from a variety of foods and natural approaches that have limited research behind them, so I think that being open to possibilities is key.”
Gentiletti, Gans, and Minchen all cited social media as the driver of celery juice’s popularity. When you hear that, it’s quite clear that the drink’s rise to fame might be based more on trends than in its nutritional merits. While there’s nothing wrong with drinking drinking celery juice as opposed to, say, a soda, a truly nutrient-dense snack should contain fiber, healthy fat, and protein. Whole celery doesn’t contain fat or protein, and most of its fiber is stripped away in the juicing process. Gentiletti recommends that those who like celery might instead want to snack on chopped celery sticks with either peanut butter or hummus.
Ultimately, it’s totally fine to drink celery juice, but as with any food or drink, it should only make up a small part of a varied diet, and you should never think any one beverage will make all your problems magically disappear.
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