You have probably seen the #CeleryJuiceChallenge trending on Instagram in the last couple of months. This long-forgotten vegetable has been selling out at supermarkets thanks to Anthony Williams, a New York Times best-selling author who influenced people to start drinking this bright green juice every day.
Wellness influencers on Instagram have been raving about the “healing power” of the juice with some even claiming that it cured them of chronic diseases, cleared their skin and helped them lose weight.
But, this isn’t the first “juicing” trend that has taken over social media. Kale and spinach had their fair share of this trend and have been continuous staples for green juice aficionados.
So, does celery juice actually have any special health benefits?
We talked with Dr. Jeanette Andrade, an Assistant Professor and the Master of Science in Dietetics Program Director at the University of Florida, to get some professional advice on this new juicing trend.
Benefits of celery
HC UFL: Are there any benefits of celery juice?
Dr. Andrade: “Celery, itself, contains numerous amounts of vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and K, folate and potassium. Due to the amount and types of vitamins and minerals in this food, it is considered a good source of antioxidants. Antioxidants may reduce one’s risk for developing heart disease or other chronic diseases.”
HC UFL: Is it better to eat celery whole or as a juice?
Dr. Andrade: “Overall, it is better to eat celery in the whole/raw form rather than juicing it. This is because during the juicing process, you reduce the amount of fiber. Fiber keeps you fuller longer, maintains bowel consistency and may help you maintain your weight.”
The juicing trend
HC UFL: What do you think of the juicing trend overall in regards to vegetables and fruits?
Dr. Andrade: “Personally, I am not a fan of juicing, especially if you can consume fruits and vegetables in their whole form. There are many benefits from consuming foods in their whole form, such as fiber. Also, there is not enough scientific research that shows juicing outweighs the benefits of consuming produce whole.”
What should you do?
HC UFL: What do you recommend for college students who are looking to maintain a healthy intake of vegetables and fruits?
Dr. Andrade: “If juiced forms of fruits and vegetables is the only method that a college student can stomach consuming these foods, then it may be one way to get them to consume the proper amount of fruits and vegetables daily. However, the student should avoid using excess sugar or salt to enhance the flavor of the juice.
If a student is struggling to get in the proper servings of fruits and vegetables daily, I suggest experimenting with these foods at a few meals each day. For example, as a snack, grab a plain yogurt and toss in a handful of blueberries, raspberries or some other fruit. If you are sautéing chicken, toss in some onions, mushrooms, peppers, etc. as a means to get in some vegetables. Also, try to think of the main dish as the fruit or vegetable and the grain and protein (chicken, fish, etc.) as the sides. Finally, start slow! If you are not used to eating fruits and vegetables in meals or as snacks, then start with eating a fruit and/or vegetable at one meal and then continue to add them in at each meal/snack.”
Although celery moves up the vegetable hierarchy today, there will definitely be some new vegetable or fruit in the near future turned into a juice and hyped even more. But for now, are you willing to try this #CeleryJuiceChallenge?