Right now, social media is awash in photos of people with their celery juice. They claim that the green drink cured them of headaches, belly bloat, skin conditions, and irritable bowel syndrome, purged their bodies of all toxins, and left them with a zen-like feeling of pure bliss.
As a dietitian, I’m psyched that celery is suddenly in the spotlight. It’s got a respectable amount of vitamin C, contains the B vitamin folate, and has a little bit of fiber. It’s crunchy, full of water, and refreshing—and of course is also the perfect vessel for peanut butter.
I’ve no doubt that celery juice helps people feel more hydrated in the morning. And I know from personal experience that a green blender drink is a nice, light way to start the day (though in my case there’s usually some pineapple and banana involved too).
But the mythical claims about celery juice leave me more than a little skeptical. If celery juice did, indeed, flush viruses out of the body and cure migraines, wouldn’t the world be free of respiratory infections and headache medicine? And the medical explanations surrounding celery juice’s powers just don’t make sense—for instance, that drinking celery juice increases bile (bile is made in the liver) or that it “restores your central nervous system”. Huh?
There are also drawbacks of juicing in general. It’s quicker to slurp down juice than it is to crunch through fruits and veggies, so it may feel less satisfying than eating whole food. You also lose the fiber when juicing. Celery juice is made by putting the stalks through a juicer (or processing them in a regular blender and straining the mixture through cheesecloth or a nut-milk bag), leaving all the fibrous parts behind. It’s claimed that removing the fiber from celery makes the healing powers more potent, but unlike celery juice, fiber is actually proven to be good for you. The benefits range from keeping you regular to lowering cholesterol levels. To get these fiber benefits, throw a stalk of celery into your favorite smoothie, so you’re getting the whole vegetable, not just the juice.
My two cents: If you want to try celery juice, there aren’t drawbacks beyond the cost (each glass requires an entire bunch of celery) and the taste. But don’t set your expectations for healing too high.