What are the health benefits of celery juice?
A nutritional advisor debunks the myths, side effects and health benefits of celery juice: wellness hero or fad?
Anthony William (aka The Medical Medium) is a self-professed ‘medium’ claiming to have a unique ability to communicate with a higher power. This so-called power enlightens him with medical information that can trigger health revolutions ahead of their time.
He says his abilities and books ‘have earned him the trust and love of movie stars, rock stars, billionaires, best-selling authors (and) professional athletes’. (It is worth pointing out here, however, that mediums are not officially recognised as authorities in the medical world.)
It all smacks a bit of Hollywood hype. So, we take a closer look at this ‘miraculous superfood’. From the health benefits of celery juice to how to make it at home, here’s all you need to know about this ‘global celery juice movement’.
The primary health benefits of celery juice
The fanfare surrounding celery juice at the moment is not without reason – it is certainly full of essential nutrients, and when drunk on a regular basis purportedly has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. It can help with a host of digestive conditions from acid reflux and bloating, to IBS and constipation by helping to raise hydrochloric acid levels (stomach acid that helps to break down ingested foods). It can also help improve inflammatory skin complaints such as acne and the bioactive flavonoids in celery may also help to prevent proliferation of cancer cells.
Celery is bursting with nutrients
Celery juice contains the antioxidant Vitamins A, C and K, which are good for immune system health, anti-ageing and, in the case of Vitamin K, general bone and heart health. The juice also contains magnesium which is good for bone and heart health, diabetes, migraines and anxiety. Other nutrients contained in celery juice are potassium which helps with cardiovascular and muscular strength; phthalides, a phytochemical that relaxes the tissues of artery walls helping to reduce blood pressure; and phytosterols that help to lower cholesterol.
It’s also Low in sugar
Celery juice is low in sugar, and as part of a balanced diet, helps to keep blood sugar levels stable, proving a useful tool in weight management and curbing cravings. In addition, the high water content in celery (95%) makes it a good diuretic. This may help to reduce blood pressure and the alkalinity helps with acid reflux. Make sure, however, that the celery you plan to use is organic as the water content will only be as healthy and chemical free as the water it is sprayed with when farmed.
How to make celery juice
Take a bunch of washed celery and put in a juicer to extract the pure juice from the plant. One bunch of celery should yield about 6-8oz of juice. If you don’t own a juicer, Breville offers an affordable range. Alternatively, you can use a blender (Nutribullet or Vitamix A3500 are recommended options) to create the blended celery juice. Then strain the pulp from it using a muslin cloth or wire sieve. The pulp can then be popped in an ice tray and frozen, to be used later in soups or gravies.
Drinking pure celery juice rather than a blended smoothie which retains the fibrous pulp comes highly recommended, as its concentration and potency of nutrients hitting the empty stomach creates maximum benefits. The fibre content of the pulp would slow down the digestion of sugars, but given there is negligible sugar in celery there is no real benefit to eating the pulp if you are getting fibre from alternative sources in your diet.
When to drink celery juice
Drink celery juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, starting with 6 to 8oz to allow you to acclimatise to the strength of the vegetable juice. Slowly build up to 16oz per day or even 24oz if you start to feel the benefits. Please note that your celery juice drink should not be seen as a meal substitute – it should be an addition to your regular daily balanced diet plan.
How to store celery juice
Store your celery juice in a glass mason jar with a lid and keep refrigerated – it should last for at least a couple of days. You can also freeze it and drink it as it defrosts, although, as with most things, the fresher the better. With this in mind, we recommend drinking it as soon as you have made it. The celery sticks themselves will last up to 5 days in a fridge before they start to lose their antioxidants.
Where to buy celery juice
Waitrose Duchy Organic range stocks the celery plant, but if it is ready-made juice you are after, try the 7 day celery raw cold-pressed juice by press-london.com, which is stocked in Selfridges or can be purchased online.
The risks and side effects of celery juice
Like most foodstuffs, there is a risk of allergy in some people. If you experience any ill effects stop drinking it immediately.
Celery juice is a diuretic and may increase frequency and urgency of urination. It has also been known to cause loose bowel movements. Both these symptoms should settle down once you have acclimatised to the vegetable juice.
There is a small risk to people with an existing thyroid disorder, that high quantities of celery juice can affect the uptake of iodine in the thyroid, and could potentially lead to the formation of a goitre (enlargement of the thyroid gland).
So, should you add celery juice into your diet?
Although celery is undoubtedly a nutritious plant, there are plenty of others with equally good credentials, making it difficult to see why the humble celery stick should be singled out as such a phenomenon. In fact, the amount of each of the vitamins A, C and K in kale is over 20 times that contained in celery.
Celery is definitely not a standalone cure-all, but there is certainly no good reason not to drink the juice. It is virtually sugar free, full of beneficial nutrients, and does seem to help with mild digestive disturbances and other inflammatory conditions – but remember that it is useful only as part of a varied and balanced diet.