Celery is perhaps one of the most versatile vegetables right now in terms of what you can make.
The scientific name of celery is Apium graveolens. And it’s a part of the plant family “Apiaceae” that includes parsley, fennel and parsnips.
Most people call it a vegetable since it has a crunchy, mild flavor with no hint of sweetness but some naturopaths call this an herb.
It grows vertically in a tall cluster of stalks pressed tightly together.
The stalks stem up from a bulb and is also edible.
If left alone to grow fully, it’ll produce seeds after its flowers wither.
Both seeds and leaves edible which makes celery one of those rare plants in the world that are edible from stalk to seeds.
You can combine celery with other vegetables in stews, soups and broths because of its rich flavor. And cook it in a way so it doesn’t lose its nutrient content.
Many people also add it to their breakfast juices and smoothies.
Others slice it up in salads or snack on it in whole chunks. The reason for this is all of the health benefits that it has to offer.
A cup of chopped celery contains (around 101 grams)…
(Percentage daily values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.)
- 16 grams of calories with only 2 calories coming from fat
- 0 grams of fat
- 81 mg of sodium
- 2 grams of sugar
- 1 gram of protein
- 6 mcg of Vitamin K (37%)
- 453 IU of Vitamin A (9%)
- 4 mcg of Folate (9%)
- 4 mg of Calcium (4%)
- 263 mg of Potassium (8%)
- 6 mg of Vitamin B6
1. Rich in Antioxidants and Anti-Inflammatory Nutrients
Celery is a rich source of conventional antioxidants nutrients that include Vitamin C, manganese and beta-carotene.
It is also rich in phytonutrients that fall in the phenolic antioxidant category. And proven to have anti-inflammatory benefits.
The list of phenolic antioxidants includes the following:
- Phenolic acids
Studies done on people show the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefit of celery in diets.
Good source of flavonol and flovone
One such study showed that celery being able to provide 7% of the daily requirement of flavonol and flavone for adults in China .
Research has also shown the ability of celery juice to decrease activity of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB).
These four molecules play a very important role in our body’s immune system responds and prevents unwanted inflammation that can lead to several debilitating diseases like cancer, heart disease and many more.
2. Calms the Nervous System
Celery is high in calcium and magnesium .
Eating celery regularly can help people who struggle with stress calm down.
This is important for those who have to deal with nightly insomnia because they can’t relax.
It is also helpful for those suffering from depression and anxiety due to an imbalance in their hormone levels.
3. This Vegetable Improves Heart Health
The high levels of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin K in celery have a positive effect on the heart.
Calcium is responsible for contractions in heart muscles every time it beats.
Power of Magnesium, Potassium and Vitamin K
Magnesium helps the heart muscle relax.
If the body has a deficit of either of these minerals, a person will develop an irregular heartbeat that puts them at risk for heart attack or stroke.
Good for the heart
Potassium is also important to the cardiovascular system because it helps decrease extra fluid in the body which elevates a person’s blood pressure .
And lastly, Vitamin K is crucial to keeping the arteries and veins that carry blood pumped through the body healthy.
Damaged or weak arteries pose a higher risk to develop blood clots.
4. Helps Lower Bad Cholesterol
Another heart friendly benefit of celery is its cholesterol-lowering properties thanks to the phthalides that stimulates the secretion of bile that helps lower bad cholesterol .
Scrapes out bad cholesterol
When you eat it whole its fibers helps “scrape” out cholesterol from the bloodstream out of the body through bowel movement.
One such study done at the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Singapore reveals that rats that were given celery extract had significantly lower levels of lipid in their blood versus the rats that did not take any celery extract .
In another research at the University of Chicago Medical Center reported in the New York Times showed rats that were fed a chemical extract from celery called 3-n-butyl phthalide had lower cholesterol by 7 percent.
5. Aid in High Blood Treatment and Prevention
High blood is another risk factor to coronary heart disease and a diet rich in vegetables like celery can help reverse this otherwise deadly condition.
The Cleveland Clinic says that celery contains a phytochemical called phthalides that helps relax tissues of the artery walls that help increase blood flow and lower blood pressure.
It would be better if you eat the whole stick since salt content is low plus you get the other benefits like fiber, magnesium and potassium which also help regulate blood pressure.
6. Two Stalks a Day Reduces the Risk for Ulcers
A stomach ulcer is a painful hole that develops in the lining of the stomach.
People who have this condition feel a “gnawing” sensation that does not seem to dissipate.
If a person goes too long without getting treatment, it can turn into a bleeding ulcer that is more dangerous.
Eating anything rich or spicy is impossible for a person with a stomach ulcer because these foods will irritate the area that has the hole in it.
What’s the cause?
The culprit to this condition is a H. Pylori – a bacterium.
Some people naturally have more of this in their gut compared to others so they aren’t as prone to ulcer.
However, if this mucous layer of the stomach lining is thick enough, a person can still have H. pylori in their system and yet not develop an ulcer.
That’s where celery comes in.
How celery helps
One of the amazing things that this vegetable does is increase the mucous layer of the stomach lining.
In a study done on laboratory rats published in the Pharmaceutical Biology revealed that the lab rodents that consumed celery extract had fewer ulcers and more protected stomach linings.
Researchers hypothesized that this was caused by apiuman – a pectin-based polysaccharide that is found in celery .
Protects from Gastritis
Also according to this piece I found in the University of Maryland Medical Center website states that consuming celery helps protect against the risk of gastritis or the inflammation of the stomach lining because of its flavonoid content that can help stop the growth of unwanted gut bacteria – a cause of inflammation .
So it is a great idea for those who are prone to stomach ulcers to eat some of it daily.
7. Fight Edema and Swelling
Celery increases the output of urine that the body produces because of all of the potassium that it contains. So it is considered a natural diuretic .
This vegetable helps people who struggle with swelling in their legs and ankles due to a number of health conditions heart or kidney ailments.
Being a diuretic helps it flush kidney stones and infection.
Many people also eat celery when they want to detoxify their body because it cleanses the liver of impurities while it flushes out waste.
8. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural defense mechanism of the body .
When an injury occurs, the immune system detects this, it swells up to let you know somethings wrong.
But sometimes, our immune system response doesn’t work correctly, so healthy tissue is attacked.
And healthy body parts stay inflamed even though there is no disease present.
This inflammation can cause a wide range of illnesses, such as rheumatism, diabetes, and heart disease.
Celery will helps fight inflammation to prevent healthy issue from damage.
Rich in antioxidants
It has antioxidants that double as an anti-inflammatory.
And one antioxidant found in celery is luteolin.
A University of Illinois study proved that this flavonoid helps “reduce production of proinflammatory mediators in LPS-stimulated macrophages, fibroblasts, and intestinal epithelial cells”.
Excessive production of these proinflammatory mediators leads to the inflammatory switch inside the brain to be turned on even there isn’t any need for it .
This protects cells from oxidative stress and inflammation when there is no threat.
9. Make Weight Loss Easier With This Low Calorie Food
The high fiber content of this vegetable makes people stay fuller for longer than they would if they ate a meal without it.
Virtually zero calories
It is also virtually calorie-free, so a person could eat as much of it as they want without gaining any weight. And it even has a negative calorie effect on the body.
That means that it takes more calories to digest the celery than the celery actually contains.
How it helps you lose weight
Regularly eating vegetables with a negative calorie effect on the body helps people to take in less total calories than they normally would.
Because of these factors, celery is considered the perfect diet food for those who are trying to lose a few pounds .
10. Prevent and Treat Cancer Naturally
Celery’s anti-cancer properties have become pretty important to those who are suffering from cancer of the intestines, pancreas, lungs, or breasts.
Research has shown that because of its anti-inflammatory properties, high antioxidant levels, and high levels of apigenin and luteolin flavanoids, this vegetable can help fight off cancer cells.
The most impressive of all of these is apigenin .
Even the most aggressive cancer cells will self-destruct in the presence of high levels of apigenin.
This is especially important to patients with pancreatic cancer because there are so few treatments that do much to phase the growth of this type of cancer.
Pancreas cancer does not have any symptoms during the initial stages. Only during the advanced stages of the disease do symptoms manifest.
And at that point, the cancer has spread, and it is beginning to attack other parts of the body.
So if Apigenin is part of a person’s diet, they can fight off or prevent this type of cancer.
Helps kill cancer cells
For people with cancer, Aspigenin helps in killing cancer cells. When taken 24 hours prior to chemotherapy, it’ll pre-treat the body. So it has a better chance of killing more cancer cells than chemotherapy alone.
Celery also contains the flavaoid luteolin and based on research it may possess anti-cancer properties.
In one study authors said that “luteolin sensitizes cancer cells to therapeutic-induced cytotoxicity through suppressing cell survival pathways”.
Authors are encouraged by the findings of this study saying that it could be used as an anticancer agent to various types of cancer .
11. Helps Increase Libido
Women going through menopause or men over the age of 40 often struggle the most with low libidos.
But they don’t seek help for this issue.
They don’t have to suffer in silence though. Eating a few stalks of celery a day can help things get back on track in the bedroom because it contains androsterone which is an odorless hormone released through male perspiration and according to AskMen, this turns women on .
It is a natural vasodilator that improves blood flow to the genitals.
Studies also prove that Vitamin K deficiency lowers testosterone production that lowers sex drive.
Both men and women need this hormone, but men usually have about ten times the amount of it that women do.
But if there’s too little of it, estrogen level goes up and this makes arousal difficult.
So by correcting this deficiency, a person’s body can return to having normal hormone levels.
12. Fights Infections
For centuries folks used celery seeds as herbal medication thanks to its antibacterial properties.
And in 2009 researchers did a study to see if celery can fight bacteria.
In that particular study, celery seed extracts where combined with a harmful bacteria compound called Helicobacter pylori.
Researchers concluded that celery extract was able to reduce the bacteria’s growth and can be used to naturally boost immunity and fight infections .
13. Benefits the Liver
People who have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are rising especially among children.
The American Liver Foundation says that up to 10 percent of all children have this condition and is the leading cause of chronic liver disease in the United States.
Can celery help alleviate this silent killer?
Researchers at the University of Egypt have some encouraging findings on studies done on rats.
Hypercholesterolemic rats that had celery, barley and chicory leaves in their diets for 4 weeks showed improved enzyme function and blood lipid levels.
They concluded patients who suffer from hypercholesterolemia and liver disease may benefit from a diet that included celery, chicory and barley .
14. Better Cognitive Health
A 2010 study done at the University of Illinois revealed that luteotin helps improve brain function.
Older mice aged two to three years old were give this nutrient. While younger mice between three to six months were not.
Older mice that was give luteotin did better at memory and learning related tasks compared to younger mice.
While this study was done on lab rats, scientists believe that celery can help boost memory and halt age-related brain-inflammation .
Cautions Regarding Potential Side Effects
This vegetable is safe to eat regularly for most people.
However, there are some potential side effects that you should know.
Large amounts of celery shouldn’t be eaten by women who are pregnant because it contains high levels of apiol, which could cause a spontaneous abortion to occur .
Apiol can be toxic in high doses
Also, people who are of a European descent have a higher risk of being allergic to celery.
So they should be sure to check with their doctor before they eat large amounts of it. Especially if they have any allergies to other plants in the Apiaceae family because even a bite of celery could potentially trigger anaphylatic shock in those who are allergic to it.
According to Dr. Weil, celery does contain natural toxins called psoralens which are usually broken down when cooked.
These toxins only come out when celery begins to rot – pink rot to be more specific.
It is a common fungus that is responsible for the brownish patches that discolor celery. So when shopping for one make sure to thoroughly check the stalks. And make sure that these patches aren’t present.
If they are make sure to chop them off.
How to Consumer Celery?
Celery is one of the most versatile vegetables in the plant kingdom. Almost everything from the leaves, stalks and even seeds are edible.
Perhaps the most straight forward way of consuming celery is eating the stalks raw but a word of caution.
Celery regularly ranks amongst the dirties foods in EWG’s list of the dirty dozen. And if you plan on eating it uncooked, do yourself a favor and buy these organic to ensure that chemicals aren’t present.
Also wash these thoroughly as there will be bits of soil and an occasional worm present.
You can dip it in low fat cream cheeses or sprinkle it with paprika to add flavor.
Juicing or Blending
This is my personal favorite because honestly I don’t like how celery tastes like what I would do is juice it on a slow juicer.
Doing this allows you to consume more without having to chew it but you won’t get the benefit of fiber. Another way to enjoy this nutritious veggie would be adding it to your smoothies.
On cold winter days, nothing beats a hot bowl of soup and you can add chopped celery to your favorite broth.
Do you like homemade salsa and tortilla chips? Then you can add celery to your salsa recipe to make it even healthier.
Celery Seed Extract
I did mention earlier that celery seeds are edible and you can buy celery seed extract from your local pharmacy like Walgreens and CVS or even go online at Amazon.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, celery seeds how a number of benefits that include :
- Arthritis and gout treatment
- Calming nerves
- Lower blood pressure
- Reducing muscle spasms
- Lower inflammation
There are actually a lot more you can do with celery and here are some of them:
The Bottom Line
Celery is truly a nutrition powerhouse with lots of benefits!
It can calm anxiety and depression, improve heart health, prevent and treat some types of cancers, and much more!
So if you don’t have any in your refrigerator right now, head to the store to buy some today.
It usually costs about a dollar, and it keeps well in the refrigerator for at least a week. And remember, the entire plant is edible, so you don’t have to throw any of it away.
Grow your own
If you want to save money and have a continuous supply of celery for free, you can regrow the bulb. Just set it in a cup of warm water for about an hour before planting it in some dirt.
In a few days, you will see new growth come up through the center of the stem.
Wait until the stem is several inches tall before harvesting it. Doing the above steps can yield a dozen or more celery each month.
Spread the word!
If you have any experience with all the positive benefits that celery has to offer, feel free to comment below! Don’t forget to share this article with your friends too.
Many people don’t know how amazing celery is or how it could improve their health.