Celebrities, Instagram influencers, and other wellness gurus have been recommending celery juice as an elixir that’s absolutely crucial for the winter months. The “zero-calorie” vegetable is making a comeback this season amid claims that the stringy stalks can boost your workouts and rejuvenate your skin.
“Guys, Tracey Cunningham told me yesterday that we’re supposed to drink fresh celery juice every morning,” actress and celebrity Busy Philipps said in her Instagram story. Tracey Cunningham is her celebrity hair stylist. “Apparently it’s supposed to do all of these wonderful things for you and something with Gwyneth Paltrow and I don’t know but I’m on board.”
Sounds glamorous! But when we heard “Gwyneth Paltrow,” we started to get skeptical. The celebrity entrepreneur has been known to tout some expensive and questionable health solutions — many of which we’d rather not try.
So we did a little digging. Celery juice isn’t exactly a refreshing sweet smoothie — it’s one of the bitterest vegetables on the planet blended to a pulp. It’s often served without any sweetener.
If you drink it, you’ll get some fiber, folate, vitamin K, et cetera. It can be anti-inflammatory from the antioxidants and hydrating from all the water. We know it’s healthy for you. But at what cost?
There are ways to sweeten your celery. Some people blend cucumber and spices alongside the crunchy vegetable. Others add lemon, an apple, or pineapple. Of course, in that case you’d be getting the fiber, vitamins, and sugars from the fruit in your drink, too. And your blend might be a bit more palatable.
But here’s the million-dollar question: Would you rather choke down chunks of freshly-ground celery or just eat some stalks dipped in hummus or ranch on the side?
Registered dietitian Cynthia Sass told Food & Wine, “I think it’s fine to do, but I don’t think it’s essential. You’ll get similar benefits from eating celery and plenty of other fresh veggies in a variety of ways throughout day.”
We also asked registered dietitian Julieanna Heaver, and her sentiments were similar. “While celery juice is one wonderful source of disease-fighting phytonutrients and other vitamins and minerals, there is no one superfood that promises excellent health when consumed,” Heaver told The Daily Meal. “Most important is your overall diet and making sure it is filled with plenty of fruits and vegetables.”
In other words, “crucial” is a huge overstatement. Eating the celery — or other nutritious vegetable — without blending it first will do the same amount of good for your body. “At least half of your total day’s food intake should come from these nutrient-dense foods,” Heaver says.
If you enjoy bitter stalks pummeled to a pulp, by all means go ahead and drink it. But if not, instead of suffering through glass after glass of bright green liquid, why not try one of these healthy, vegetable-filled recipes instead?