Should You Drink Celery Juice for Weight Loss? We Found Out

|Updated Jul 6, 2021
Getty Images

Celery juice is back. The low-calorie vegetable stole the show from kale, spinach, and other greens because of anecdotal health claims made by celebrities, athletes, and influencers, on social media. Two of the most influential celery juicers are Kim Kardashian and Novak Djovak who touted the juice for treating personal health conditions and supporting better digestion. Others suggest celery juice clears their skin, alleviates headaches, treats sleeping disorders, aids weight loss, and more. However, nutritionists say there's not enough evidence as to whether the celery juice health claims are true. Studies have yet to be conducted. Instead, nutritionists advise people to drink celery juice for its science-backed health benefits such as providing a good source of vitamin K, potassium, and helping you stay hydrated. Here's everything you need to know about the celery juice trend, if it actually works, and if you should the vibrant green drink.

Getty Images Getty Images

The celery phenomenon started when Anthony William (the OG celery juicer) published the book: Medical Medium Celery Juice: The Most Powerful Medicine of Our Time Healing Millions Worldwide and advised his 3.2 million Instagram followers to drink 16 ounces of organic celery juice on an empty stomach every morning for its natural healing powers, crediting the information to what he calls the "Spirit of Compassion."

Several publications including The New York Times point out that William's claims such as drinking celery juice to help clear skin and support a healthy digestive system are not backed by science. In fact, human's reaction to the vegetable has not been tested, as the only published studies have been tested on animals such as mice or rats.

Willaim's massive social media following spread the word quickly. Influencers, celebrities, and athletes like Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Kardashian, and Novak Djokovic also helped spread awareness around celery juice, claiming it helped with some kind of health condition: Digestion, weight loss, acne, sleeping, and more.

Then Goop published a piece written by William called The Medical Medium on the Virtues of Celery Juice: "In my opinion, celery has an incredible ability to create sweeping improvements for all kinds of health issues," he wrote. No lesser influencer than Kim Kardashian met with William, who told her to drink celery juice for her psoriasis, according to Shape. The tennis star who pays close attention to digestion health told the interviewer Graham Bensinger he drinks three liquids in the morning including celery juice for its health benefits.

Juice shops also played a role in marketing celery. In fact, it was some stores' hero product following this craze. Juice Press added the one-ingredient juice to their detox menu which customers happily paid more than $7 for. They also work with influencers to promote the juice to their followers. But as successful as Juice Press was, there came a point when demand couldn't meet supply. “Three months ago we couldn’t provide enough celery juice for about 4 days,” Michael Karsch, CEO of Juice Press told The New York Times. Pressed Juicery also went out of their way to create a bottled celery juice and noted William's beliefs in the selling-point description: "Drink every day on an empty stomach for maximum benefits."

Does celery juice actually treat these health claims?

There is a lack of studies that prove the celery juice health claims are true, and in fact, most of the studies have been tested on rats or mice, with a focus on celery seeds or celery extract. “There’s no scientific evidence to support any of the claims being made,” Rachel E. Scherr (assistant research scientist in nutrition at the University of California, Davis) told The New York Times.

Other health claims such as celery juice for hydration and nutrients may be true. Celery is roughly 95 percent water and contains 165 mg of potassium per 1/2 cup of celery, an important nutrient that helps regulate fluid balance. Celery also contains high amounts of vitamin K, 30 mcg per 1 cup of celery. However, the vegetable contains such small amounts of vitamin A and C, two important nutrients for immunity. Whereas carrots contain triple the amount of vitamin C.

Bottom line: There's not enough evidence to say the anecdotal health claims about celery juice are true. But, celery juice may help promote better hydration and is full of potassium.

3 Health Benefits of Celery

Although there is limited information about the health benefits of celery on humans, plenty of research has been tested on animals, suggesting that celery may prevent disease, may help you lose weight, and may lower inflammation in the body.

Celery contains antioxidants that may help prevent disease

In a study published in the National Library of Medicine, a test was conducted on rats that were treated with doxorubicin, a chemotherapy medication used to treat cancer, to understand the antioxidant activity of celery. A group of researchers led by professor Jovanka Kolarović, found that celery root water increases antioxidants in the liver and that water of celery leaves increases glutathione, an antioxidant in plants that's capable of preventing disease. The results indicated that celery can have antioxidant effects. The same study says: "Celery can prevent cardiovascular diseases, jaundice, liver and lien diseases, urinary tract obstruction,  gout, and rheumatic disorders."

Celery extract may help you lose weight

Drinking celery juice was a big hit among dieters who wanted to lose weight, and in fact, they may have been on the right path. Celery extract was investigated by a team of researchers led by Wesam Kooti who measured its effects on the lipid of rats that were fed a high-fat diet. The result showed that celery "significantly decreased the cholesterol, triglycerides [body fat], and low-density lipoprotein [transports fat molecules around the body] in the treated group as compared to the control group," according to the study.

Celery may help lower inflammation in the body

One of the best ways to reduce inflammation in your body is to eat a diet high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, and seeds. Yet, eating more anti-inflammatory foods like celery may also help. An experimental study explains that celery extract has anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce your risk of chronic disease.

Another study tested on mice suggests that the "stems of the celery plant possessed significant anti-inflammatory activity due to the presence of polar constituents in the extract."

While there hasn't been enough research about the incredible health claims made by celery juice enthusiasts to determine its validity, the fiber-dense vegetable is still a great whole food to add to your plate for other numerous health benefits. The most recent health craze that's taking over TikTok is boiled Lettuce Water, supposedly helping people fall asleep more easily. Stay tuned for our next article that breaks down the health benefits of lettuce, and find out if boiling it in water is a fad or here to stay.

The 13 Best Foods to Boost Your Immune System to Fight Off COVID-19 Symptoms

Here are the best foods to eat on repeat, to boost immunity and fight inflammation. And stay off the red meat.

1. Citrus for Your Cells and Healing

Your body does not produce vitamin C, which means you need to get it daily to have enough to create healthy collagen (the building blocks for your skin and healing).The recommended daily amount to shoot for is 65 to 90 milligrams a day, which is the equivalent of one small glass of orange juice or eating a whole grapefruit. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it's easy to get your fill.

2. Red Peppers to Pump Up Skin and Boost Immunity with Twice the Amount of Vitamin C as an Orange Has

Want even more vitamin C, add red bell peppers to your salad or pasta sauce. One medium-sized red bell pepper contains 152 milligrams of vitamin C, or enough to fulfill your RDA. Peppers are also a great source of beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A (retinol). How much beta carotene do you need a day: You should try to get 75 to 180 micrograms a day which is the equivalent of one medium bell pepper a day. But a red pepper has more than two and a half times your RDA for vitamin C so eat them all winter long.

3. Broccoli, But Eat It Nearly Raw, to get the Most Nutrients Out of It!

Broccoli may be the most super of superfoods on the planet. It's rich in vitamins A and C as well as E. The phytochemicals in it are great for arming and strengthening your immune system.How much lutein should you eat in a day: There is no RDA for lutein, but experts say get at least 6 milligrams.

4. Garlic, Eaten By the Clove

Garlic isn't just a great flavor-enhancer, it's essential for your health. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties are tied to its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin. Allicin is thought to improve your immune cells' ability to fight off colds and flu, and viruses of all kinds. (Smelling more garlic on the subway? It could be smart coronavirus management.) Garlic also has anti-microbial and anti-viral properties thought to fight off infections. How much should you eat in a day: The optimal amount of garlic to eat is more than most of us can fathom: Two to three cloves a day. While that may not be doable, realistically, some people take garlic supplements to get 300-mg dried garlic in a powdered tablet.

5. Ginger is a Power Player for Immunity and Digestion

Ginger is another ingredient that has super properties when it comes to fighting off illness. It has been shown to decrease inflammation, which can help if you get swollen glands or a sore throat or any inflammatory ailment. Gingerol, the main bioactive compound in ginger, is a relative of capsaicin, and is responsible for much of its medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.How much should you eat a day: Most recommendations land on 3–4 grams of ginger extract a day, or up to four cups of ginger tea, but no more than 1 gram a day if you are pregnant. Some studies have linked high dosages to an increased risk of miscarriage.

6. Spinach, Wilted, Not Steamed (Also Kale and Dark Leafy Greens of All Kinds)

Spinach is not only packed with vitamin C but also antioxidants and beta carotene, both of which give your immune system the healthy boost it needs to fight off invaders. Don't overcook your spinach, since the more it's cooked the less active the antioxidants will be. If you eat it raw or lightly steamed you'll keep more of the nutrients intact.How much should you eat a day: Aim for 1 cup fresh spinach or 1/2 cup cooked per day, but this is the right moment to try the raw or slightly wilted approach. Order warm or wilted spinach salad when you go out, or make it yourself with olive oil, pine nuts, and vegan parm.

7. Almonds for the Win, Pop Them Like Candy

Vitamin E in almonds will help ward off colds and flu and is key to your immune system humming along. It’s a fat-soluble molecule, meaning it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed, so nuts are the perfect package for E to make it into your system.How much should you eat in a day: A half-cup serving, or 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides almost 100 percent of your RDA of vitamin E. Almonds are great for you but they don't come with a "free" pass, since 1/4 cup is a serving and has 162 calories, so double that for your RDA and you're eating about 325 calories. Throw them into smoothies instead.

8. Turmeric to Fight Inflammation, Put it In Your Tea or Smoothie

This highly pigmented spice is known for its anti-inflammatory qualities. How it helps immunity? It decreases exercise-induced muscle damage. Tumeric bolsters the immune system by stimulating antibody formation and people with auto-immune diseases are told by their doctors to take 500 mg of curcumin daily to reduce inflammation and stave off soreness.How much should you eat in a day: Try adding extra Tumeric to your diet during periods of stress or during flu season. Or take 500-2,000 mg of curcumin to help fight inflammation and power up your immune system.

9. Green Tea by the Gallon, Skip the Coffee and Sip this Instead

Green tea has high levels of EGCG, (epigallocatechin gallate) a hard-working antioxidant that is known to boost immune function. Green tea is steamed so the EGCG is still active when you drink it.Green tea also contains L-theanine, an anti-oxidant which appears to help in the production of T-cells in your body, the killer  L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.How much green tea should you drink in a day: The optimal amount is three to five cups in a day, but most people won't get to that level. Any amount is better than nothing. Swap out a usual beverage daily for green tea could improve your health.

10. Papaya, The Tropical Healer to Keep You Vacation-Healthy All Year Round

Papaya delivers over twice your recommended daily amount of vitamin C in one fruit. It also contains an enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects -- and inflammation is one factor in most illnesses, so avoiding it can help your body fight off bacterial infections like sinusitis.Papayas contain potassium, vitamin B, and folate, which is a powerful cell rebuilder. Exactly how folic acid works to build immunity is linked to its role in protein synthesis, and researchers think that any mechanism in which cells proliferate can be affected (which is why it's critical for pregnant women). People who are folate-deficient have compromised immune systems.How much folate should you eat a day: Whether you are pregnant or not, folate (vitamin B9) is a great vitamin to keep your cells healthy and strong. The recommendation is 400 micrograms a day, or get it from legumes, spinach, papayas, and avocados.

11. Kiwis, a Vitamin Powerhouse

Kiwis are full of folate, vitamin K, vitamin C, and potassium. These vitamins in combination work in the body to build healthy cells, fight infection and keep your immune system humming along. Vitamin K deficiency is rare but when people don't have enough they suffer from weak bones and compromised immune systems. The inflammation system in the body is also dependent on vitamin K, especially your killer T cells that mobilize and fight cancer and other diseases.How much should you eat in a day: Vitamin K is one of the unsung heroes of the body. Women should get 90 micrograms a day, and men should have 120 micrograms.

12. Sunflower seeds to sprinkle on salads or eat by themselves

Sunflower seeds are especially healthy since they provide phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin B-6 as well as vitamin E. Your immune system needs vitamin E to function at full throttle. You can also get vitamin E from avocados and spinach and broccoli.How much should you eat in a day: Anywhere from 1 ounce (30 grams) per day to a healthy handful is considered healthy, but because they are high in sodium you might want to refrain from eating the entire bag. The raw seeds have 204 calories per quarter cup.

13. Miso, Soup or Paste to Add to Your Soups and Salad Dressings

The nutrients in miso -- which is a soybean paste that has been fermented with salt and a koji starter -- boosts immune system function by delivering healthy probiotics to the gut, making your microbiome healthier. How does Miso benefit your immune system?  It is a "sirt" food, which are foods that contain high levels of ‘sirtuins’ or proteins that regulate cells and activate metabolism. A diet high in sirts is believed to lead to weight loss, increased wellness and longevity.How much should you eat in a day? Researchers believe that consuming one bowl of miso soup per day, as is the tradition in Japan, lowers the risks of breast cancer. Other than its high sodium content there is no reason to stay away from miso with all its varied health benefits. We say cheers to that.