Ask Jenny: What’s The Deal With Celery Juice?

“I’m not using celery juice as a meal replacement or a cleanse but just to start my mornings and then continue normal eating throughout the day. Is this an okay thing to consume on an empty stomach? And do you think that drinking juices (opposed to blended and keeping the fiber) is beneficial? I do make smoothies most days to get closer to my 7-9 servings and the juicing would just be on top of that. Would love to hear your thoughts!

— Rachel, Boston

Celery juice – the wellness trend that just won’t quit! Just like its predecessors coconut oil and apple cider vinegar, celery juice is the wellness trend du jour, and just like these former wellness heavyweights its benefits are being touted as boosting detoxification, lowering inflammation, increasing weight loss, benefiting gut health, and even curing disease.

And just like most fads on the health and wellness scene, there is no scientific evidence for these claims. But, this doesn’t mean it does not have benefits for health, and the thousands of fans professing their love for the green stuff via the medium of social media certainly think it has its merits.

As a nutritionist the first question I ask when weighing up the validity of a wellness trend is ‘what do we know’? As I mentioned, there have been no clinical studies on the benefits of celery juice, but we do know that celery is rich in Vitamins A, C and K and minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium, it can have alkalising properties for the body. and it has a high water content. This combination of natural electrolytes plus hydration is probably why people feel so great after drinking it!

But I know the question you really want answered is ‘should I drink it?’, and my answer is ‘why not!’ In this case there are no know negative effects of starting your day with celery juice, there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence for its benefits, and as we know, if we start our day with a healthy habit, we are more likely to make positive choices for the rest of the day.

The two challenges I do have with this trend are as follows:

1) the unproven claims from its champion Anthony Williams (aka The Medical Medium) who does not have any nutrition or medical training, but instead receives spiritual visions that he translates into health recommendations that he says can cure anything from IBS to cancer.

2) the lack of fiber – a study  by the Institute of Medicine reports that the average American eats only 15 grams of fiber a day, which is ridiculously low and can lead to unstable blood sugar, weight gain and digestive issues. My first PRIME Principle is to eat 7-9 servings of vegetables and low GI fruit a day, so I would rather see people getting all the benefits of celery by eating it whole, or by adding it to a green smoothie.

To answer Rachel’s specific question, if she is getting her 7-9 servings a day, then is no reason why she shouldn’t see if the celery juice trend works for her. My personal recommendation is that the first thing that you should consume in the morning is a large glass of water (room temperature or warmer – I keep a mason jar on my bedside table and drink it before I even get out of bed), so start with that, then drink your celery juice should you wish!