So, is celery, a marshland plant that humans have been cultivating for hundreds of years, as healthy and beneficial to our bodies as it’s claimed to be?
What Is Celery?
Table of Contents
- What Is Celery?
- Benefits of Celery Juice
- Side Effects of Celery Juice
- How to Consume Celery
- How to Make Celery Juice
- Final Thoughts
Celery is a marshland plant, with a fibrous stalk and leaves on top. It’s cultivated as a vegetable all around the world. It’s also eaten or is part of local cuisine in various parts of the world, including North America, Europe, and Asia. In fact, celery is a key ingredient in Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
It also contains essential minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and potassium.
Benefits of Celery Juice
Keeps You Satiated and Is High in Nutrition
Celery is used in weight loss diets because its high fiber fills up the stomach and reduces cravings. At the same time, its low-calorie content ensures that the body doesn’t put on weight. However, when celery is juiced it loses most of its fiber content, though the vitamins and essential minerals remain intact. It’s a well-known fact that vegetable and fruit peel or skin contains a lot of beneficial components. These get lost to a certain extent when the vegetable, in this case, celery, is juiced.
Improves Digestion, Regulates Blood Sugar Levels and Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
The fiber in celery helps the digestive system function better, it balances blood sugar levels, helps maintain cholesterol levels, improves the immune system and reduces the risk of heart disease, besides triggering weight loss. When celery is juiced, these benefits get diluted to a great extent but aren’t completely lost. Celery juice will help you reduce blood pressure, it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and also combats oxidative stress in the body.
Prevents Urinary Tract Infections
Celery has diuretic properties, which stimulates urination and in the process eliminates uric acid from the body. People who suffer from problems in their kidneys or disorder of the bladder or cystitis are benefited by having celery. It also means that celery helps women prevent urinary tract infections to a certain extent. Studies have also shown that men too can reduce the risks of urinary tract infections by consuming celery, among other fruits and vegetables. Note that it’s not necessary that you have celery in the form of juice to benefit from it.
Reduces Arthritis Pain
If you’re suffering from arthritis, rheumatism, gout or any other similar condition, the anti-inflammatory properties of celery can help alleviate swelling or reduce pain around the joints. It also helps reduce muscular pain. When uric acid concentration around joints increases, it causes pain and discomfort. Since celery helps eliminate uric acid from the body, the joints benefit.
Side Effects of Celery Juice
Celery is similar to food items such as nuts, dairy, eggs, etc. that cause allergic reactions in some people. The degree of allergic reaction caused by celery can be extremely dangerous. Those who suffer from celery allergy can suffer fatal anaphylactic shock due to celery consumption. The celery stalk contains less amount of allergen than the celery root or celery seeds, but allergens are present nonetheless. In addition, cooking temperatures don’t destroy the allergens, which means celery juices will contain the allergens as well. The juicer or blender you use to make celery juice can retain allergens and infect other juices made in the same machine.
Rashes and Photosensitivity
The micronutrients in celery or the phytochemical composition of celery do cause various side effects. Celery is a furocoumarin-rich food that can cause phototoxicity, which essentially makes you photosensitive. The photosensitive properties of celery are due to psoralens, which is an active substance. By consuming celery on a regular basis, either in the form of juice or in salads or cooked, you expose yourself to potential skin rashes as well.
Harmful to Kidneys
Celery, along with other vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, beets, etc. contain high levels of dietary oxalates. These oxalates react with the calcium in the human body and form calcium oxalate deposits, which are colloquially known as stones or kidney stones. If the amount of stones in the kidney increases it can cause serious harm to one of the essential organs of our body.
The Myth of the Miracle Celery Juice
When a vegetable or fruit, irrespective of its original sugar content, is juiced the concentration of sugar per fluid ounce is significantly higher than when you consume it directly. So, juicing celery transforms it into a concentrated source of sugar. The other benefits of celery juice get offset to a large extent due to this. But even if we take a look at the claimed and studied benefits of celery juice, we find various discrepancies.
Let’s begin with its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s true that celery contains antioxidants such as flavones, which can help the body deal with chronic inflammation. However, none of the scientific studies conducted thus far to establish this have been conducted on humans. The tests have been limited to lab rats. So, while theoretically celery juice could help our bodies fight and defeat chronic diseases, the reality is that we cannot say with any certainty what the actual effect of the anti-inflammatory properties in celery will be in the human body.
Detox and Cleansing of the Digestive System
The same holds true for the claim that celery juice has a miracle detox and cleansing properties. This, once again, is misleading, to say the least. The detox capabilities of your body are directly connected to how well your liver, gut, and kidneys are functioning. If these are doing their job properly, then your body is detoxing automatically. When someone says that the celery cleanse diet gives the liver a much-needed break, they are simply stating an incorrect fact.
Irrespective of what you consume, the liver is always working towards converting it into useful compounds for the body or converting it into bile. So, the liver doesn’t actually take a break. What happens is the liver is less stressed. The amount of stress experienced by the liver while breaking down processed food is significantly higher than when it’s breaking down green vegetables. That’s the difference and in this respect, celery isn’t unique. The same will happen with any vegetable. So, you just need to eat healthily and eliminate processed food from your diet to detox your body. Last but not least, if you want to help the gut and the digestive system function better, then you need to consume fiber-rich food. But celery juice loses most of its fiber content.
If you weren’t following a healthy diet and then make the switch to having celery juice regularly, you are bound to lose weight. The same will happen if you substitute celery with spinach or kale. What you need is a balanced, healthy diet, backed by proper exercise to lose weight. It’s not healthy to lose excessive weight in a short period of time. It sends a shock through your body. You should lose weight gradually and that’s possible only when you combine a balanced diet with exercise.
How to Consume Celery
Celery is a tough vegetable and it can take a bit of time to juice it. But if it’s cut into smaller pieces and the stalk and leaves are separated, it doesn’t take too long. If you want to eat celery on a regular basis, cooking a dish with it every day can be an exhausting process.
Instead, celery juice is a lot more convenient. You can juice a large quantity of celery at one go and consume it over a few days. You can also order readymade celery juice from a number of online platforms. Juicing celery also means that you consume a larger volume of celery than would be possible in a cooked dish, which would have various other components.
So, you will end up consuming a greater amount of nutrients and beneficial phytochemicals through celery juice as compared to cooked celery. Celery is also easier to digest than cooked celery.
It will help you lose weight, yet keep you well hydrated as it contains electrolytes and water.
How to Make Celery Juice
Now that you have had a chance to look at celery juice from all perspectives, let’s lighten up the mood and learn how to make celery juice.
- You will need a bunch or two of celery stalks, depending on how much juice you want to make.
- Water to help the juicing process.
- A juicer or high-quality blender.
- Colander for straining.
- Muslin cloth.
- Pitcher to store the celery juice.
- Begin by cutting off the ends of the stalks and then cutting the remain portions of the stalks into smaller pieces.
- Transfer the pieces into the colander and thoroughly wash them.
- In case you’re using a juicer, feed the celery pieces into it.
- After the first round, check the mixture to see if it’s smooth enough or not.
- Add half a cup of water, if required and then turn on the juicer for a second round.
- Once the celery juice is ready, you can store it and drink it over a few days.
- In case you’re using a blender, add about one-fourth to half a cup of water in it, along with the pieces of celery stalks.
- Close the blender lid and blend it till the consistency is smooth.
- Depending on the amount of celery stalks added, you might have to pause and add a little more water to get the perfect smoothness.
- Use a muslin cloth to finely filter the juice and store it in a pitcher.
- You might have to squeeze the muslin cloth to extract the final bit of the juice.
- You can serve celery juice at room temperature or add ice to it, as per your preference.
- If plain celery juice seems too bland, you can add elements like mint, lemon juice, green apple and even ginger to add a new layer of taste and flavor.
- Chilled celery juice can be refreshing drink on a hot day, besides being healthy.
Celery juice is similar to other green, leafy vegetable-based juices. It has a similar type of nutritional profile as spinach or kale. So there’s no harm in adding celery juice to your diet. There’s also no doubt that consuming celery will help your body and keep you healthy, just like other green vegetables do. Ideally, you should consume it in salads or a dish to ensure that the fiber content of celery enters your body. But if you prefer celery juice that’s fine as well. The key is to understand that celery isn’t some magic vegetable, it doesn’t and it won’t do anything miraculous. It will provide you benefits that its properties allow it to and nothing more.
It’s important that you recognize the fact that the self-styled health gurus who have been pushing celery juice as a miracle cure are doing so simply because of their own commercial concerns. It helps them sell more books and earn more money. You should wait for their claims to be backed by science before you start having celery juice every day and do more harm to your body than good. You should also remember that the key to being healthy is a balanced diet. Just like you shouldn’t be eating fizzy drinks and processed food every day (preferably never), you should also not be having celery juice every day. Your diet should include elements from all three of the primary categories, i.e., protein (not necessarily from meat), carbohydrates and fat.
If you do decide to consume celery juice on a regular basis, do keep in mind that it will not give you the kind of benefits that having the vegetable as a whole will give.
Since celery can cause allergic reactions and is also known to dull the effect of certain medications, you should consult your doctor before going on a celery juice diet. You should get yourself checked up and be sure that it won’t have any adverse effects. We hope our insights on celery juice helped you learn a few things that you never knew before. We’ll sign off with something your grandmother probably gave you a lot of — “Don’t forget to eat your greens!”
Becky believes having good health, listening to your body and being happy is one of the most beautiful gifts. True health and cheerfulness naturally beget each other.