Celery is a healthy and nutritious vegetable that is low in calories and full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It has become a popular ingredient in fresh vegetable juices and cleanses. However, some people find that juicing celery causes them to have abdominal pain, bloating and gas. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at whether juicing celery really does cause gas and abdominal discomfort.
Celery Contains FODMAPs
Celery contains compounds called FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols). FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates that some people have difficulty digesting. When FODMAPs pass through the small intestine undigested, they enter the large intestine where gut bacteria ferment them. This fermentation process can lead to gas, bloating and other digestive issues in susceptible individuals.
The FODMAPs found in celery include:
- Fructans – a chain of fructose molecules
- Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) – a chain of galactose molecules
For most people, consuming some FODMAPs is not a problem. However, those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can be sensitive to FODMAPs. Juicing celery concentrates these compounds, which may exacerbate digestive symptoms in these individuals.
Other Compounds in Celery That Can Cause Gas
In addition to FODMAPs, celery contains other compounds that may contribute to gas and bloating:
- Fiber – Celery is a good source of insoluble fiber. While fiber is healthy, too much insoluble fiber at once can cause gas and bloating.
- Nitrates – Celery naturally contains nitrates, which are converted to nitrites by bacteria in your mouth. Nitrites can cause abdominal discomfort in some people.
- Sulfites – Sulfites are preservatives found naturally in celery. Sulfites may induce gas in sensitive individuals.
Tips to Prevent Gas When Juicing Celery
If you experience gas or GI discomfort from juicing celery, here are some tips that may help:
- Drink celery juice in moderation – Start with just 1-2 oz (30-60 mL) at a time.
- Combine celery with other low-FODMAP vegetables like carrots, cucumber or spinach.
- Avoid juicing just the leaves which are very high in nitrates.
- Strain the juice to remove fiber, which can help reduce gas and bloating.
- Try sautéing celery first to break down FODMAPs before juicing.
- Take a digestive enzyme containing alpha-galactosidase to help break down GOS.
- Consume celery juice slowly and avoid gulping.
- Avoid celery juice on an empty stomach which can worsen side effects.
Health Benefits of Celery Juice
Despite the potential for gas, celery juice does offer some important health benefits when consumed in moderation. Celery juice contains beneficial plant compounds like flavonoids, phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins. Some of the top benefits of celery juice include:
- Hydration – Celery juice is mostly water, providing hydration.
- Detoxification – It contains antioxidants that may help remove toxins.
- Reduced inflammation – Phytonutrients like flavonoids have anti-inflammatory effects.
- Lower cholesterol – The phytosterols in celery can reduce LDL cholesterol.
- Blood pressure – Celery contains potassium and phytochemicals that improve blood pressure.
- Antioxidants – Powerful antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene and manganse protect cells.
The bottom line is that celery juice does have some nutrition benefits. However, it’s best to start slow and be cautious if you have a sensitive digestive system.
Nutrition Facts of Celery
Here is an overview of the nutrition found in 1 cup (101 grams) of raw chopped celery:
|Vitamin K||29% DV|
|Vitamin C||3% DV|
Celery is very low in calories, fat and protein. It provides some fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium and other nutrients.
Juicing celery can cause gas, bloating and stomach discomfort in some individuals. This is due to FODMAPs and other compounds found naturally in celery. The best way to prevent excess gas from celery juice is to start with small amounts like 1-2 oz at a time. You can also combine it with low-FODMAP veggies, remove the fiber by straining and take enzymes to help break down the sugars. When consumed in moderation, celery juice does provide important antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.