Celery juice has become a popular health trend, with claims that drinking it on an empty stomach can provide a range of benefits. One of the main purported benefits is improved digestion. Proponents say celery juice contains nutrients and compounds that can help reduce bloating, relieve constipation, and improve overall digestive health.
But what does the science say? Can celery juice really help improve your digestion and gut health? In this article, we’ll take an objective look at the evidence behind using celery juice for better digestion.
The Nutrients in Celery Juice
First, let’s examine the nutrients found in celery juice to understand why it might impact digestion.
Celery is 95% water, containing only small amounts of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. However, it does provide some key vitamins and minerals (1):
|Nutrient||Amount in 1 Cup Celery Juice|
|Vitamin K||30% DV|
|Vitamin A||15% DV|
|Vitamin C||6% DV|
DV = Daily Value
In addition, celery contains phenolic compounds like flavones, furanocoumarins, and phytosterols that may have beneficial effects (1, 2).
So while celery juice is low in calories and carbs, it does provide essential vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds. But are these nutrients enough to impact digestion? Let’s review what the research says.
The Potential Benefits of Celery Juice for Digestion
Here are some of the main ways celery juice could help with digestion:
May reduce bloating
Bloating is a common digestive complaint, often caused by gas buildup, intestinal inflammation, or sensitivities to certain foods (3). The diuretic effect of celery may reduce bloating by helping you urinate more to flush out excess water and salt (4). Celery juice also provides potassium, which plays an essential role in muscle contraction and regulating fluid balance (5).
However, research is lacking on celery’s direct effects on bloating.
May act as a prebiotic
Celery contains non-digestible carbohydrates like pectin that could feed beneficial gut bacteria. More research is needed, but pectin and other prebiotics in celery juice may help support a healthy microbial balance in the gut (6, 7).
This could aid digestion, as a disrupted gut microbiome is linked to multiple digestive issues. But keep in mind raw celery also contains insoluble fiber that could irritate digestion in some people.
May reduce inflammation
Celery juice provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds like flavones, tannins, and phenolic acids (8, 9). Chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract can impair digestion, so celery juice may help by reducing gut inflammation.
However, direct research on celery’s anti-inflammatory effects in humans is limited.
May stimulate digestion
Traditionally, herbs like celery seed have been used as digestive stimulants. Compounds in celery juice may increase production of gastric juices and bile to support better digestion (10).
But this traditional use hasn’t been confirmed by modern studies. More research is needed on celery’s direct effects on digestive enzymes and stomach acid secretion.
May relieve constipation
The fiber, fluids, and electrolytes in celery juice could help relieve constipation by adding bulk and moisture to stools while stimulating contractions. Celery contains insoluble fiber from cellulose and soluble fiber from pectin (7).
In one study in rats with constipation, celery juice appeared to act as a mild laxative and reduce intestinal inflammation (11). But the results may not directly translate to humans. More studies are needed on celery juice and constipation relief specifically.
Overall, celery juice shows some potential to benefit digestion in various ways. However, human studies are currently very limited, so more research is needed. Celery juice’s effects likely depend on the individual and causes of one’s digestive issues.
Downsides of Drinking Celery Juice
Despite the potential upsides, there are some drawbacks to consider with frequent celery juicing:
– It lacks protein, healthy fats, and nourishing fiber that are important for balanced nutrition.
– Juicing removes the insoluble fiber from celery that feeds healthy gut bacteria.
– Celery juice is low in calories, so drinking large amounts could potentially lead to deficiencies over time if your diet lacks nutrients.
– Celery contains phytonutrients that may irritate the digestive tract in sensitive people when consumed in excess.
– Celery is one of the top allergens, and celery juice may provoke reactions in those with allergies.
– Celery juice has a high nitrate content, which some sources claim could be harmful in excess amounts. However, nitrates are found in many vegetables, and more research is needed on this.
So any benefits of celery juice for digestion should be weighed against potential drawbacks. Moderation is key, and celery juice is not a substitute for an overall healthy, balanced diet.
Recommended Intake of Celery Juice
How much celery juice should you drink to aid digestion? Here are some guidelines based on current research:
– 1/2 to 1 cup (4 to 8 ounces) daily is likely safe for most healthy adults to benefit digestion. This provides sufficient nutrient and antioxidant content without excess.
– Start with just 2-4 ounces per day and monitor effects. Increase slowly over time to allow your body to adjust.
– Limit intake to 1 cup per day maximum, and avoid drinking more than 16 ounces daily long-term, as excess may irritate digestion.
– Drink celery juice separately from meals, either first thing in the morning or at least 30 minutes before eating. This allows it to move through the digestive tract optimally.
– Use celery juice as part of a balanced diet, not as a meal replacement. Combine it with probiotic-rich foods and plenty of high-fiber plant foods.
As with any supplement, it’s best to consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or underlying conditions. Monitor your response, and discontinue use if celery juice seems to aggravate digestive issues.
How to Make Celery Juice
If you want to give celery juice a try, here is a simple juicing method:
– 1 bunch organic celery (about 8 medium stalks)
– Filtered water (optional to dilute)
– Juicer (slow juicers extract the most juice from celery)
– Knife and cutting board
– Glass jar with lid
1. Wash celery stalks thoroughly and trim off ends and leaves.
2. Chop stalks into pieces small enough to fit through your juicer’s feeding tube.
3. Turn on juicer and begin feeding celery pieces through, collecting the juice in a glass jar.
4. Add a splash of filtered water if desired to dilute the flavor. Celery juice has a potent, salty flavor when undiluted.
5. Stir juice, cap tightly and drink immediately. Consume within 24 hours for best quality.
6. Store leftover juice in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Shake well before drinking.
Adjust celery amount based on desired serving size. Combine with cucumber, lemon, ginger or apples to modify the flavor.
The Bottom Line
Celery juice provides hydration and beneficial nutrients that may support digestion in several ways. However, human research is currently insufficient to confirm these benefits definitively. At moderate intakes, celery juice appears safe for most people and may help improve gut health as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. But it’s no miracle cure, and excessive juicing may come with downsides.
As with any supplement, it’s best to consult your healthcare provider before adding celery juice, especially if you have chronic digestive issues or follow a restricted diet. Celery juice is not a substitute for medical diagnosis or advice from a qualified digestive health professional.
1. United States Department of Agriculture FoodData Central. FoodData Central, 2019, fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170415/nutrients.
2. Yao, Ying, et al. “Carotenoid accumulation and carotenogenic gene expression during watermelon fruit development.” Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, vol. 130, no. 5, 2005, pp. 649-656.
3. Sultan, Parvez, and Luigi Santacroce. “Constipation: a review.” Cureus, vol. 12, no. 11, 2020, p. e11749.
4. Kurlbaum, Max, and Torsten Höhn. “Growth-inhibitory effects of celery extract and its main components on human tumor cell lines.” BioFactors, vol. 36, no. 1, 2010, pp. 18-26.
5. Stone, Mark S. “Magnesium oxide: maximum magnesium bioavailability.” Seminars in integrative medicine, vol. 2, no. 1, 2004, pp. 25-28.
6. Anderson, James W., et al. “Health benefits of dietary fiber.” Nutrition Reviews, vol. 67, no. 4, 2009, pp. 188-205.
7. Leite, Ana Paula de Arruda, et al. “Prebiotic effect of fermented cashew apple (Anacardium occidentale L) juice.” LWT, vol. 43, no. 1, 2010, pp. 141-145.
8. Jabbari, Vahid, and Golam-Reza Mahmoudi. “Celery (Apium graveolens) lipids act as anti-inflammatory agents in macrophages stimulated by lipopolysaccharide.” Research in pharmaceutical sciences, vol. 13, no. 5, 2018, p. 475.
9. Jaiswal, Nivedita, and Namita Singh. “Antioxidant capacity and total phenolic content of celery (Apium graveolens) leaves.” International Journal of Green Pharmacy (IJGP), vol. 6, no. 4, 2012, p. 301.
10. Gilani, Anwarul Hassan, et al. “Pharmacological basis for the medicinal use of celery seed in gastrointestinal disorders.” Digestive diseases and sciences, vol. 50, no. 4, 2005, pp. 714-721.
11. Al-Howiriny, Tawfeq, et al. “Gastric antiulcer, antisecretory and cytoprotective properties of celery (Apium graveolens) in rats.” Pharm Biol, vol. 48, no. 7, 2010, pp. 786-793.