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Is Celery Juice Healthy?

 Celery juice has taken social media by storm. The #CeleryJuiceChallenge was started by New York Times best-selling author Anthony William who challenged people to drink celery juice daily for a week in December. But, is it really healthy, or is it just a hype?
 
“It is true that there is supportive research on the phytochemicals in celery helping to reduce blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and fight against oxidative stress. These same nutrients are found in whole celery as well as celery juice,” Erin Palinski-Wade, registered dietitian and author of “2 Day Diabetes Diet,” says. She adds that claims that celery can fight infections and disease aren't backed by scientific research or evidence. 
 
celery juice

They are mostly anecdotal based on personal experiences shared online. In fact, celebrity chef and New York Times best-selling author Devin Alexander agrees, stating, “It is a trend, and it’s healthy, but it’s not a miracle cure and there is no scientific fact that it is overall better than juicing other vegetables.” In fact, Alexander says that people claiming to have lost 20 pounds or having gained clearer skin just from swapping other juice drinks for celery juice should consider what they were drinking and eating before they made the swap. “If a person was drinking 16 ounces of apple juice or a smoothie with high-sugar fruits like bananas or mangos — even if it also had some spinach in it — they would almost definitely see a drop in weight, but that’s mostly because celery juice would have so much less sugar and so many fewer calories,” Alexander said. “And if you were drinking a ‘healthy’ smoothie, most of which have too much sugar, switching to celery juice could also curb your cravings, especially if you’re insulin resistant.” 

What’s in celery juice?

Celery juice is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorous, electrolytes, water and small amounts of other vitamins and minerals. According to JJ Virgin, celebrity nutrition and fitness expert, and author of 'The Virgin Diet', says “It also contains health-boosting flavonoids and other phytochemicals, although some of them will be lost when fiber is removed during juicing.” When fiber is removed it can trigger a more rapid blood sugar response. “Not to mention that you’ll be missing out on all the other health benefits of fiber,” she added. “Many foods contain nutrients in the peel, pulp, and other components that are lost when they’re converted to juice form.”

celery juice

Fiber in your diet not only keeps your digestive system functioning smoothly, it can also help with:

  • Feeling full
  • Sparking weight loss
  • Balancing your blood sugar levels
  • Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels
  • Feeding the good bacteria in your gut and boosting your immune system
  • Helping reduce your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes

And even though the micronutrients in juice are highly concentrated, the sugars in juice are highly concentrated as well. Another con is the amount of time it takes to juice a vegetable like celery. All the experts also point out that when you eat food, rather than drink it, you will feel fuller. Not forgetting to mention that for many, chewing is more satisfying too. 

celery juice

What are the pros of celery juice?

Juice can feel more convenient, especially when made ahead of time, or if bought ready made. “You can consume a larger portion faster with less volume, making it easier to eat more of a certain food… therefore allowing you to take in a higher level of vitamins and minerals,” Palinski-Wade says. Virgin points out that since vegetables and fruits are broken down during juicing, they can be easier to digest. Alexander said that if you drink celery juice or other pure vegetable juices in place of a drink or other foods that contain more calories, you could lose weight. Furthermore, because celery has electrolytes, eating or drinking it could keep you hydrated. 

So, what's the verdict? Is it healthy to join the trend? Palinski-Wade says there is nothing wrong with drinking celery juice if you enjoy it. “However, the nutritional properties of the juice are not unique and the same benefits can be found from eating celery along with other leafy green vegetables,” she said. “If you enjoy the trend, feel free to stick with it. But otherwise, just aim to add more greens in any form to your plate.”

Any type of juicing means pulling out the sugars and losing the fiber from the food you’re juicing, which isn’t healthy for blood sugar balance, sustained energy, or healthy weight maintenance. In addition, before you start juicing, Alexander recommends you talk to your doctor first: “Just because someone has a million followers [on social media] doesn’t mean that they have any knowledge at all,” said Alexander. “If you’re taking medications, be sure that you’re not juicing a fruit or vegetable that could interfere with the medicine. Grapefruit juice is known to dull some medications and celery juice can also do that.”

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