You have to excuse the eye roll but really I don’t think you’re going to be surprised by this blog post. Well…..maybe a little bit. The celery juice diet or cleanse is making significant ripples in the wellness space. It seems like everyone is doing it! So what’s the hype? Is celery juice really the miracle cure it promises to be? Or is it just another fad? The blog post below might surprise you a little bit….

Celery Juice Diet – What is it?

It’s claimed that drinking 16-32oz of celery juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach will restore your gut health and support your gut. Not only that but apparently you can also reduce inflammation, support skin, rebalance gut flora, alkalise the body, eliminate migraines, depression/anxiety…..you get it, it’s basically a miracle cure. Sigh, if only it was so easy.

Juice fruits and vegetables is a practice that’s been around a long time now. 

If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Yet the trend and the health claims continue to rise with over 90k posts now tagged #celeryjuice and even celebrities are diving in to give it a try. Let’s dig a little deeper into the facts and the science.

Celery

You’re probably familiar with celery stalks (especially if you’re following this latest trend) but we actually eat other parts of the plant too; leaves, root and seeds. For 100g of stalk, you can expect around “a whopping 1.6 grams of fibre; 37% of the RDA of vitamin K; 5 to 10% of the RDA of vitamins A, C and B9 (folate), potassium and manganese; and lesser but still significant amounts of vitamins, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and E, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and zinc. All for only 16 calories” (source).

Celery delivers a wealth of nutrients and phytochemicals but it’s nothing out of the ordinary compared to other vegetables. In addition to the micronutrients, it’s very high in antioxidants like caffeic acid and apigenin – compounds that help fight disease-causing free radicals to protect cells against damage. While these aren’t unique to celery alone, it’s impressive how much punch it packs for the little amount of calories.

The Health Claims of celery juice diet:

  • Reduce inflammation: a few of the identified phytochemicals in celery have strong anti-inflammatory and immune regulating effects.  
  • Cancer-fighting properties: Some antioxidants in celery are shown to slow the growth of cancer cells.
  • Gut flora balance: Celery also has antifungal properties to help balance gut flora and manage any ‘bad’ guys.
  • Hydration: celery is actually mainly water. Not meeting your daily fluid intake can impact every aspect of health, including physical performance, brain function, heart health and more.
  • As a final note, a review of celery in 2017 also found that its flavonoid and polyphenol content may reduce inflammation, cancer risk, diabetes, improve fertility, cognitive function and more.

On paper, it looks like solid advice to drink celery juice every day. However, to round out these benefits, it’s important to take note of the research methods.

  1. Most studies are looking to identify specific antioxidants or phytochemicals and their therapeutic effects to leverage into drugs/medicines. They are not specifically taking diet, lifestyle and individual difference into consideration, rather isolating the compound in question. So we don’t see the synergistic effect of celery juice in particular in treating these ailments, rather the individual antioxidant.
  2. Usually, research studies would use celery extract which concentrates the phytochemicals.
  3. Finally, studies are often carried out in cell culture or animal models.

Of the scientific research that does exist, further research is needed to conclude the amount needed to reap the aforementioned benefits. There doesn’t seem to be any direct link to the above benefits coming from celery juice itself.

Celery juice diet – to juice or not to juice?

Should you juice celery or eat it whole? And is there even a difference? When you juice a fruit or vegetable, you are removing a number of components i.e. the fibre. Interestingly, some of the nutrients are actually bound up in this fibre and one study found that by juicing, you lose out on 44% of the goodness (source).

Overall, however, how much use we get from juice or pulp is reliant on the health of our gut flora. Our bacteria break down large polyphenols, metabolise them and create other compounds using these pieces as raw materials.  

But it works for me!

If you’ve tried it and loved it, who are we to stop you! While this blog post is aimed to shed some light on the claims, there are no negative or health risks to giving it a go! But think could you get the same effects from making some tweaks to your diet instead or simply drinking more water? For one, you are typically dehydrated first thing in the morning so drinking a big glass of celery juice could potentially make you think you’re getting more benefits than you really are. And second, perhaps there’s something else going on – when we make health switches we often change other habits too, consciously and unconsciously.

To argue for the celery, there is also something to say for the qualitative evidence – we’re literally seeing thousands of people report the benefits via social media which can’t be ignored. Science and scientific research does have limitations when it comes to individual needs and real-life application so perhaps there’s something to be inferred from the live science experiment happening as this trend grows?

Celery Juice – the verdict

The verdict is that celery juice isn’t unique but drinking celery juice is also not dangerous. So if it makes you feel better, by all means, do it. Just don’t expect miracles. Overall, it can supply a steady stream of the antioxidants and micronutrients that your body needs. However, that said, you shouldn’t expect celery juice to be a quick fix for better health. It’s also unlikely beneficial unless paired with a healthy, balanced diet rich in a variety of other fruits and vegetables.