Celery juice has become an increasingly popular health drink in recent years. Many people drink it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, claiming it provides a range of health benefits. However, some people report feeling nauseous, bloated or even vomiting after drinking celery juice. This article explores whether celery juice can make you feel sick and the potential causes.
What is celery juice?
Celery juice is made by juicing celery stalks. It contains high levels of nutrients and antioxidants from the celery, including vitamin K, folate, potassium, vitamin C and polyphenols (1). It’s typically recommended to drink 16 ounces (2 cups or 500 ml) of pure celery juice every morning on an empty stomach. Proponents claim it hydrates the body, reduces inflammation, boosts immunity and gut health, detoxifies the liver and has anti-cancer effects.
Can it make you feel sick?
For most people, drinking celery juice should not cause side effects. However, some people do report feeling nauseous, bloated or vomiting after drinking it. Symptoms seem to be more common when drinking celery juice in large amounts or on an empty stomach.
In one survey, 22% of people reported feeling bloated after drinking celery juice daily. Other commonly reported side effects include diarrhea, gas, stomach pain and nausea (2).
There are a few possible reasons why celery juice may make some people feel sick:
High fiber content
Celery is very high in fiber, providing 1.6 grams per cup (100 grams) of chopped celery. That’s equivalent to around 7% of the recommended daily intake (3).
While fiber is healthy and linked to benefits like improved gut health and cholesterol levels, increasing your fiber intake too quickly can cause temporary digestive issues in some people (4).
This is especially true if consuming large amounts of celery juice on an empty stomach, as your body has not had time to adjust to the increased fiber load.
Around 40% of the fiber in celery is soluble fiber that absorbs water to form a gel-like substance during digestion (5). Soluble fiber helps slow digestion and nutrient absorption, which can minimize blood sugar spikes after eating (6).
However, large amounts of soluble fiber from celery juice drunk on an empty stomach may temporarily slow or alter digestion. This leads to some of the intestinal discomfort, gas and bloating that some people experience.
Celery contains FODMAPs, which stands for fermentable oligo-, di- and monosaccharides and polyols (7). FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that escape digestion and get fermented by gut bacteria in the large intestine.
While most people can digest FODMAPs without issues, they can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea and other digestive issues in those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (8). Celery contains at least two different FODMAPs, fructans and mannitol, which may contribute to digestive issues in sensitive individuals.
Celery tends to be heavily treated with pesticides. In fact, it ranks among the most contaminated produce in regards to pesticide residues (9).
While washing celery before juicing will help remove some pesticides, a large dose of pesticide residues could potentially cause nausea, vomiting or dizziness in sensitive individuals.
Celery contains oxalate salts, compounds that can bind minerals like calcium during digestion, reducing their absorption (10). While oxalates themselves are not toxic, very high intakes can increase the risk of kidney stones in susceptible people.
Those with a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones may want to avoid drinking large amounts of celery juice over long periods.
Tips to prevent side effects
Here are some tips to help prevent digestive issues or other side effects when drinking celery juice:
- Start with a small amount like 4–8 ounces (125–250 ml) and gradually increase to larger amounts as tolerated.
- Drink celery juice with other foods instead of on an empty stomach.
- Limit intake to 12–16 ounces (375–500 ml) per day, especially at first.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
- Look for organic celery when possible to minimize pesticide residues.
- Listen to your body and reduce intake if you experience negative side effects.
When to avoid celery juice
Certain people may want to avoid celery juice entirely:
- Those with celery allergies.
- People with kidney stones or a history of oxalate kidney stones.
- Individuals taking blood-thinning medications, as celery may increase bleeding risk.
- Pregnant women, as celery juice may be unsafe in large amounts.
If you experience severe or persistent side effects after drinking celery juice, stop consuming it and consult your healthcare provider.
Celery juice is safe for most people when consumed in moderation. However, drinking large amounts on an empty stomach may cause digestive issues like bloating, gas, diarrhea and nausea in some individuals.
Starting with a small amount and gradually increasing intake can help minimize side effects. Those with sensitivities to FODMAPs, pesticides or oxalates may want to avoid celery juice.
In most cases, celery juice side effects are temporary and can be avoided by taking proper precautions.
|Side Effect||Potential Causes||Recommendations|
|Bloating||High soluble fiber, FODMAPs||Start with small amounts, drink with food|
|Diarrhea||High fiber, pesticides, FODMAPs||Gradually increase intake, buy organic|
|Gas||FODMAPs, rapid fiber increase||Limit portion size, slowly increase|
|Nausea||Pesticides, oxalates, fiber||Drink with food, buy organic|
In summary, while celery juice can provide some benefits, start slowly and listen to your body to prevent unwanted side effects.