It's the latest health drink offering a plethora of supposed benefits, but is it legit?
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Bright and bold health drinks have always been a hit on social media, from moon milk to matcha lattes. Now, celery juice is the latest pretty health drink to gain its own following. The bright green juice has racked up more than 40,000 posts on Instagram with #CeleryJuice, and the #CeleryJuiceChallenge is still picking up steam.
And the trend has officially manifested IRL; the first nationally available bottled celery juice is about to hit grocery store shelves. Evolution Fresh (the juice supplier for Starbucks) announced that their new Organic Celery Glow (made of just organic cold-pressed celery juice and a twist of lemon) will be hitting store shelves at select grocery and natural retailers beginning in April.
But how did it blow up? The celery "movement" started with Anthony William, "the Medical Medium," who has three New York Times bestselling books on natural food cures under his belt. (Celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jenna Dewan, and Naomi Campbell are all fans.) An important note: William has no medical license or nutrition certifications (his website has a disclaimer about this). But he's amassed a following for his holistic approach and the belief that he has the ability to "read" people's medical diagnoses and provide guidance on how to recover (hence the name Medical Medium).
William mentions drinking celery juice in all of his books and is a huge proponent of drinking 16 ounces of the "miracle superfood" first thing in the morning for its "potent healing properties" and "incredible ability to create sweeping improvements for all kinds of health issues"—including improving gut health, fighting cancer, clearing skin, flushing out viruses, and more.
So, is any of it true? First things first: "One food by itself cannot 'cure,'" says Sandra Arévalo, a registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
“However, foods that provide 20 percent or more daily value of nutrients are recognized to have high nutritional value.” The only nutrient celery would be considered a 'superfood' for is vitamin K—it contains 23 percent of your daily value. Which is good, but not great—compared to kale and Swiss chard, which have more than 300 percent of your daily value per serving, for example. (Related: 3 Ways to Eat Celery That Don't Involve Ants On a Log)
Celery does pack a powerful antioxidant kick, too. "Some of the antioxidant properties of celery extract have been linked to increased fertility and lowering blood glucose and serum lipid levels," says Arévalo. A 2017 review of celery studies found that celery’s flavonoid and polyphenol content may reduce inflammation, cancer risk, diabetes, and more. However, further research (including the amount needed to reap these benefits) is needed to conclude that there is any direct link, she says.
As for William's claim that you should be drinking 16 ounces of celery juice first thing in the morning to gain the most benefits? Experts say that's largely bogus. "You are typically dehydrated in the morning when you wake up, so drinking a big glass of celery juice first thing might make it seem like you're getting more benefit than you actually are," says Jessica Crandall Snyder, a registered dietitian and nutritionist at Vital RD. In other words, because celery is mostly made up of water, you'd likely experience the same effects simply from drinking good old H2O. There's also the fact that vitamin K is better absorbed along with fat, so taking it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning may not be as beneficial.
The bottom line? "There's no magic behind celery juice," Snyder says—but with 60 percent water content, it *is* refreshing, and a great way to stay hydrated if nothing else (as long as you can stomach the taste).