Celery juice: the latest health craze: can this contribute to healthy babies?!
I don’t know about you, but over the last few months my insta-feed has been increasingly populated by an apparently growing love affair with the ‘cure-all’ celery juice. Because I am a natural sceptic, I had to go in to the hard research to see for myself whether or not there was anything to it - particularly when it comes to the purpose of conceiving and growing healthy babies. So here’s what we found. Good and bad - and boys - read on. There is something in here for you:
There is a decent chunk of evidence that it has substantial antioxidant capabilities.
This is actually very important for a variety of reasons. Here’s why:
We need antioxidants, especially when it comes to having healthy kids - and especially when it comes to living in our very modern world.
What are they and why do they matter? For more in depth check out the article here, but in a nutshell, antioxidants protect your cells from damage. Damage which comes from Oxidative stress.
What is Oxidative stress and why is there more of it in our modern times?
Oxidation happens during every day as our cells function. It’s part of normal life and function. That’s fine as long as we have enough antioxidants against this to balance it out. However, if you get too much oxidation (which happens with more pollutants/toxins/infections etc) vs the number of antioxidants to clean it up you get free radicals, oxidative stress and damage. Damage to cells, proteins and DNA.
Not what you want. Especially if you’re trying to have a healthy baby.
How can celery help with this?!
The reality is that there are lots of different types of foods that contain antioxidants. Onions, kale, lettuce, tomato, berries even red wine and dark chocolate. So what’s the fuss with Celery?
Celery ‘because of compounds such as caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, apigenin, luteolin, tannin, saponin, and kaempferol, has powerful antioxidant characteristics, to remove free radicals’. (3)
The science is indeed supportive. Specifically Celery has a high proportion of what is known as Flavonoids or more specifically Flavonls (especially Apigenin). Apigenin is an antioxidant that is registered as one of the main active compounds in celery (rat study) and Flavonols are one of the most important subgroups (also present in parsley, red peppers, ginkgo biloba, chamomile and mint) so it does tick a lot of boxes. (1)
In fact Flavonoids more broadly have been associated with the following benefits:
How can this help us have healthy children?
Obviously avoiding cell damage is important for everyone, but particularly during conception and rapid cell division where the foundations are being built. That’s the first port of call - however, there is more:
**** Boys: this is for you ****
The sad reality is that sperm counts and quality have been falling dramatically over the last 40 years or so. By as much as half click here to read more. Research suggests that one of the contributing factors is oxidative stress click here for more on that specific issue and the evidence behind this.
Now - we know oxidation particularly impacts fatty tissue, DNA and proteins. We also know that sperm is particularly vulnerable. This is why seminal plasma typically has a high concentration of antioxidants as a protective element.
Here’s where it gets more interesting for celery specifically: one study on rats actually showed ‘a remarkable increase in the seminiferous tubules diameter, testes volume, and the number of spermatogonia, primary spermatocytes and spermatozoa’. This was after 30 days of oral administration of leaf extract of celery. (2)
Translation: ‘According to the present study, oral administration of leaf extract of celery can increase the fertility of male rats. These results are compatible with the traditional medicine concepts, indicating that the enhanced sexual performance is achieved by taking the celery extract, in men’. (2)
To me ‘remarkable difference’ is interesting.
This was after 30 days. What is also interesting is that these results were dose dependent with the higher dose level having a much greater effect.
It appears the benefits don't stop there:
‘Celery extract causes a significant reduction in serum levels of total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL), in individuals...Moreover fatty acids are essential for proper function of spermatogenesis. These extracts have several effects such as anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anti-hepatotoxic, anti-hypercholesterolemic, analgesic, anti-bacterial, and antispasmodic. ‘ (3)
Can it also work for breast milk production? Well research has shown other benefits such as ‘an appetite and libido stimulant in traditional medicine and it increases the secretion of breast milk, as well’. (2)
What about inflammation?
Chronic inflammation is most certainly not what you want click here for much more. Not only has it been widely accepted to be the root of most modern chronic disease but when it comes to our purposes, chronic inflammation has been linked to neurodevelopmental disease, autoimmunity and even premature birth and infertility.
Can celery help combat chronic inflammation? Compared with the research that has been done on the antioxidant component of celery there has been a lot less done when it comes to inflammation. There is some evidence however and a link between chronic inflammation and oxidative stress most certainly exists.
*** However - there is a risk here ***
So the good news is that the science suggests some decent benefits, and celery is low in calories. However, one way to reduce the benefits is to have celery that is laced with Pesticides. For a reminder why - especially when you’re trying to conceive/grow or have a healthy baby - they are worth avoiding at all costs click here. The Environmental Working Group includes Celery on its list of the ‘dirty dozen’. These are the fruit and vegetables worst affected by Pesticides. They say that more than 95% of conventional celery samples tested positive for pesticides and up to 13 different types of pesticide were detected on a sample of conventional celery.
So: if you are going to do celery juicing please either buy organic or wash thoroughly in Activated Charcoal otherwise you could do more harm than good.
Conclusion: there is definitely evidence to suggest that drinking celery juice (including the leaves) can be beneficial. Particularly when it comes to combating the enemy of oxidative stress which particularly impacts sperm. That doesnt mean there aren’t many other antioxidant foods that aren’t equally as good so keep those us. The benefit of celery juice however is that it is low in calories and side effects (unlike red wine and chocolate - boo!). So boys and girls - drink up.
PANCHE AN, DIWAN AD, CHANDRA SR: Flavonoids: an overview. Journal of Nutritional Science. 2016: 5: e47
HARDANI A, AFZALZADEH MR, MEAMAR Z: Effects of aqueous extract of celery (Adium graveolens L.) leaves on spermatogenesis in healthy male rats. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine. 2015 Mar-Apr: 5(2): 113-119
KOOTI W, DARAEI N: A Review of the Antioxidant Activity of Celery (Apium graveolens L): Journal of Evidece-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: 2017 Oct: 22(4): 1029-1034\
This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The information on this website has been developed following years of personal research and from referenced and sourced medical research. Before making any changes we strongly recommend you consult a healthcare professional before you begin.