Celery juice has gained popularity on Instagram with many claims of improved skin, digestion, and other health problems. Celery has been used in traditional medicines for thousands of years to treat intestinal maladies and hypertension. More recently, celery juicing has gained a large following from a self-proclaimed “medical medium” who supports celery juice consumption as a wellness panacea. It is important to approach nutrition fads with a degree of skepticism, especially those for “cure-alls.” While some of the claims are not explicitly supported by research, celery is a great source of antioxidants, fiber, and other beneficial phytochemicals. Celery contains phenolic compounds that act as antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that inhibit processes that can cause damage to cells. Other phytochemicals called flavonoids and apigenin have been shown to have anti-spasmolytic activity. This may explain why people experience beneficial gastrointestinal effects. Celery also contains compounds called phthalides which relax artery walls to help lower blood pressure and increase blood flow.
Certain studies have also linked celery consumption to decreased serum “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides. This benefit is likely due to celery’s influence on bile production, our body’s emulsifier which helps us metabolize fat. Whole celery is also a great source of insoluble and soluble fiber, the latter of which has been linked to improved blood cholesterol levels. Finally, celery has compounded with anti-inflammatory activity. Inflammation plays a role in several health conditions such as psoriasis and arthritis. Celery’s anti-inflammatory effect is potentially due to the presence of apiuman which decreases the production of inflammatory cytokines. Like celery, many fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Eating vegetables is an important part of a balanced diet and juicing can be an easy way to consume more vegetables. Juicing also helps “pre-digest” vegetables which make certain nutrients more bioavailable, however, in the process you lose valuable fiber. There is no scientific evidence supporting the benefits of juicing or other cleanses to “detoxify” the liver. The liver is our primary detoxification organ and processes the fat we consume in our diet. People most likely feel benefits from cleanses due to the fact that they are eliminating highly processed foods rich in fat, sugar, and salt. More research is required to continue elucidating benefits of celery juice, but drinking celery juice can be a great way to increase your vegetable and water consumption. Stay well in 2019, beauties!