One of the biggest health trends right now comes from a single, humble vegetable: celery. Specifically juicing it. Practically sweeping the nation and your Instagram feed, this health fad is having a serious moment. Beyond being endorsed by celebrities, this trend has got legs—or stalks—because celery juice has some impressive and credible benefits (hello, bloat relief, improved digestion, and liver detoxification). Let us deep dive into the science of this simple green juice to see what all the hoopla is about.
What is celery juice?
It’s literally just celery stalks, either juiced or blended—it’s as simple as that. Whether you juice or blend it is determined by the specific health benefits that are the most important to you. It may look like a straightforward veggie, but it has incredible and unique health benefits. “It’s an accessible and easily preparable anti-inflammatory rehydration drink,” says nutritionist and life coach Dr. Charles Passler (Bella Hadid is one of his clients).
Okay, but what can it do?
It’s an effective way to reap incredible health benefits. Celery juice has been shown to:
Maintain a healthy weight: It contains high amounts of fiber (especially when it’s blended) that has been shown to promote a feeling of fullness so you won’t eat as much. Plus, it reduces water weight (retention) because it’s a natural diuretic, says Dr. Passler.
Help with digestion: “It normalizes the production of digestive juices and enzymes, so you bloat less and have better bowel regularity,” says Dr. Passler.
Improve cardiovascular health: Celery contains a chemical called phthalide, which studies have shown to be helpful in lowering total cholesterol and elevated blood pressure.
Naturally anti-inflammatory: It contains a wide variety of powerful antioxidant phytonutrients, like luteolin and quercetin, which fight free radicals that can create inflammation in your body.
Help with liver detoxification: The enzymes involved in liver detoxification can create lots of free radicals. “If the body isn’t given enough antioxidants (to quench the free radicals) in the diet, then the process of detoxification can become impaired,” says Dr. Passler. Celery contains a variety of antioxidants that can help the detox process.
Boost hydration: The electrolytes in celery can help you absorb water into your cells more effectively.
“It’s important to remember, though—celery juice is not a panacea,” says Dr. Passler. “There are extravagant claims all over the internet about it curing hypothyroidism, erectile dysfunction, and even cancer.” He thinks celery juice has a place among other superfoods, but it can’t cure diseases.
How long before you notice results? If you’re looking for improved digestive function, you can see benefits in as little as 10 days after juicing every day. For maintaining a healthy weight, Dr. Passler says you’ll notice changes around the 30-day mark, and to see noticeable changes in cholesterol or blood pressure, it might take as much as six consistent months.
How do I make it?
How you prepare you juice depends on why you’re drinking celery juice in the first place.
If it’s for maintaining a healthy weight, Dr. Passler recommends blending the celery in a blender instead of juicing, so you can keep more fiber in the drink. “Fiber intake has been directly correlated to weight loss,” he says. If it’s for any of the other benefits, like digestion, hydration, or cardiovascular health, it’s more beneficial to juice it, as it gives you a higher concentration of the nutrients.
Flavor-wise, it’s interesting. Can we be honest here? Drinking green smoothies can be gross sometimes. Some of those super powders are actually disgusting. The things we do for health are astounding. Celery juice might be that for you flavor-wise too. I find it to be quite refreshing, as it’s a little sweet and almost spicy. (Full transparency: I’m odd enough to find celery delicious on its own though, so take my flavor with a grain of flaky Maldon salt.) If you find the flavor to be unpalatable, try adding some granny smith apples to the juice so it’s a touch sweeter without going on sugar overboard.
Now to the question that has plagued me: Should you buy or DIY? Is it cheaper and more cost effective to just simply buy it from your corner juicer stand rather than doing it yourself? The DIY might make sense in the long run, financially, but you first have to purchase a high-quality blender or juicer and then the celery for every day too.
Dr. Passler says it depends on how often you plan to be drinking celery juice and if you’ll actually commit to the routine. In the long run, the purchase of a high-quality juicer would be worth it if it’s a daily lifestyle choice you’re looking to adopt. (Try juicing the leaves, too, as they are nutrient rich with Vitamins A and C.) If you’re more of a weekly connoisseur, stick with grabbing a juice from your corner juicer but aim to consume organic celery if possible, as conventionally grown stalks are treated with lots of pesticides.
No matter where you’re grabbing it, it’s probably best to consume in the a.m. “According to some observational studies and my clinical experience with patients, it’s better utilized by your body and its digestive benefits are heightened when consumed first thing in the morning,” says Dr. Passler. He recommends starting out with eight ounces each morning and building up to 16 ounces a day over the course of a week or two. If you slowly build up, you’re less likely to get an upset stomach or bloat.
Is it the magical elixir to life? Hard no. But is it possibly a great, tasteful alternative to your everyday green smoothie? The proof is in the juice.