Celery benefits have a lot. Because celery is a low-calorie food known for its high water content. This green veggie is high in nutrients, can be found around the world, and has several health benefits. It contains useful antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals that help in treating many ailments. The addition of this crispy and crunchy vegetable to a regular diet may help reduce the risk of cancer, lower inflammation, improve cardiovascular health, and aid in digestion. In this article, we have discussed the health benefits of celery, its nutritional profile, and its potential side effects.
Celery Benefits for Health
May Help Reduce Cancer Risk
Celery is rich in antioxidants that help fight against cancer-promoting free radicals. It contains two bioactive flavonoids – apigenin and luteolin – that may kill cancer cells in the body. Apigenin is a chemopreventive agent, and its anti-carcinogenic properties destroy free radicals in the body to promote cancer cell death. It also promotes autophagy, a process through which the body removes dysfunctional cells that helps prevent disease.
The anticancer property of luteolin inhibits the cell proliferation process. These flavonoids in celery have the potential to treat pancreatic and breast cancers. Celery is also said to possess bioactive polyacetylenes. These chemo-protective compounds have the potential to prevent numerous cancer formations.
May Lower Inflammation
Celery is replete with phytonutrient antioxidants that possess anti-inflammatory properties. A study conducted by Harbin Medical University (China) found that this vegetable is also an important source of flavonols. Another study conducted by Ohio State University found that celery juice or celery extracts also reduce the activity of certain proteins that are linked to inflammation. Celery seed extracts are said to possess anti-inflammatory properties.
Celery also contains a compound called luteolin that can prevent inflammation in the brain cells. A study conducted by King Saud University (Riyadh) on rats suggested that celery can inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that causes gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining).
May Lower Blood Pressure Levels
Celery has been found to contain a phytochemical called phthalides, which relaxes the artery walls and increases blood flow. It also expands the smooth muscles in the blood vessels and helps lower blood pressure. An Iranian study conducted on rats attributed the antihypertensive properties of celery to the same phytochemical. Celery is also rich in nitrates that may help lower blood pressure. Other reviews of the phytochemical profile of celery seed extracts also indicate that they may lower blood pressure levels.
In traditional Chinese medicine, celery was often termed as a “cool” food that could lower blood pressure. Another study found that fresh celery juice mixed with vinegar is given to pregnant women in South Africa to lower their high blood pressure.
May Improve Cardiovascular Health
Celery is usually administered as an anti-hypertensive agent in traditional medicine. It could help maintain cardiovascular health. A study conducted in Iran found that celery leaf extract can improve numerous cardiovascular parameters like cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL (bad cholesterol).
Celery is high in polyphenols that have anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits. However, more research is required to understand the benefit of celery in humans.
May Promote Neurogenesis And Prevent Memory Loss
Celery may reduce the risk of memory loss. A study conducted at the Jinan University (China) found that there is a link between luteolin (a flavonoid found in celery) and lower rates of age-related memory loss. Luteolin calms brain inflammation and may help in the treatment of neuroinflammatory disorders. Thus, it may also help reduce the risk of neurodegeneration.
Apigenin, a bioactive flavonoid found in celery, is believed to aid in neurogenesis (growth and development of nerve cells). However, this factor is yet to be proven in humans. Apigenin may also contribute to the health of neurons. However, research is unclear in this regard.
May Aid Digestion
Again, research is limited in this regard. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that celery may promote digestive health. The natural fiber found in celery makes it an important food for the digestive system. The soluble fiber in celery is fermented by the bacteria in the large intestine. This fermentation process produces short-chain fatty acids, one of which (butyrate) promotes gastrointestinal health. Celery also contains insoluble fiber and may promote bowel movement.
May Improve Sex Life
Celery contains androstenone and androstenol, male hormones that are believed to stimulate sexual arousal in women. They have the potential to boost arousal by emitting scents that can make you more desirable.
A study conducted on male rats found that celery extracts enhance sexual performance. The dosage was found to increase sperm count in rats. It can even increase the secretion of testosterone. However, more research is required to verify this effect of celery in humans.
May Aid Weight Loss
Celery is low in calories and contains fiber that makes you feel full for longer periods. The insoluble fiber content of celery can increase satiety and aid weight loss. Celery’s high water content may also aid in weight loss. It also regulates lipid metabolism.
It can also be consumed with other vegetables that have a higher energy density. Anecdotal evidence suggests that celery, being water-rich, may lower the energy density of other ingredients that it is paired with. This may promote weight loss.
May Help Treat Asthma
There is limited research here. Celery seeds are said to possess antifungal and antibacterial properties that could be useful in the treatment of asthma. However, more research is required to further understand this mechanism of celery.
May Aid Diabetes Treatment
Research is limited in this regard. Celery contains antioxidants called flavones, which have been studied for their role in lowering blood sugar levels. Some experts believe that vitamin K in celery may have anti-diabetic properties. It may reduce inflammation and the associated insulin sensitivity, which may lead to improved glucose metabolism. However, there is no scientific evidence of the same.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that taking celery may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes may also be aggravated by Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that causes gastrointestinal issues. Since celery can fight this bacteria, it may also help in this regard. However, more research is required to prove this effect. A study conducted in Iran found that celery seed extract can control diabetes in rats. Thus, research on humans is required to prove the same.
May Boost Immunity
Celery contains vitamin C. This nutrient may boost immunity. The antioxidants in celery could also play a role in improving your immunity. It has been found that numerous cells of the immune system depend on vitamin C for optimal functioning and disease prevention. Vitamin C supplementation has also been found to increase the concentration of immunoglobulins in the blood, which are key compounds of the immune system. However, more research is required to understand this benefit of celery.
May Treat Kidney Stones
Celery essential oil contains luteolin and other essential compounds that could be used in the treatment of kidney stones. Furthermore, one of the main flavonoids in celery – apigenin – can break down calcium crystals found in kidney stones. However, further long-term research is required to understand the benefit of celery in humans.
May Improve Joint Health
Celery seed and related extracts possess anti-arthritic properties that may be useful in treating joint pains and gout. Joint pains usually occur due to the build-up of uric acid. One theory suggests that the diuretic properties of celery may help in the excretion of uric acid to potentially treat joint pains. As per a study conducted by University College (Ireland), the celery seed oil is a good source of sedanolide. This compound could be used to treat inflammatory issues like gout and rheumatism.
May Relieve Menopause Symptoms
Certain plant compounds called phytoestrogens may help balance hormone levels. Foods rich in phytoestrogens have the potential to relieve menopausal symptoms in women. Celery contains phytoestrogens and could be beneficial in this regard. However, more concrete scientific evidence is required in this aspect.
May Help Treat Vitiligo
Vitiligo is a condition in which the skin loses its pigment in certain areas, causing white patches. As per a study conducted in Poland, the furanocoumarins found in celery may help in the treatment of vitiligo.
Similar findings are believed to have been recorded in Atharva Veda, the sacred Indian book on Ayurvedic medicine. Generally, it offers hydration to the skin and may have been used since ancient times to treat vitiligo. However, more scientific research is needed to understand this benefit of celery.
40g Celery Nutrition Facts
- Calories: 5.6
- Fat: 0.1g
- Sodium: 32mg
- Carbohydrates: 1.2g
- Fiber: 0.6g
- Sugars: 0.5g
- Protein: 0.3g
- Potassium: 104mg
- Sodium: 32mg
- Phosphorus: 9.6mg
Celery is a popular choice in low-carbohydrate diets because it is very low in calories and carbohydrates. A whole cup of chopped celery has just 3 grams of carbohydrates, over half of which come from fiber. There are also 1.4 grams of natural sugar in a cup of celery. Raw celery has a low glycemic index of 35. Cooking dramatically raises celery’s glycemic index to a value of 85.
Celery is naturally fat-free, with very minimal amounts of fatty acids.
Celery is low in protein, with less than 1 gram per cup.
Vitamins and Minerals
Despite its low-calorie content, celery provides several micronutrients. It contains potassium, folate, choline, vitamin A, and vitamin K. Celery also offers some natural sodium and fluoride.
One medium celery stalk has fewer than 6 calories. Celery is often referred to as a “negative-calorie food,” but this term can be a bit misleading. The calories the body burns digesting food are referred to as its thermic effect. Celery is very low in calories but burns energy (calories) during digestion due to its fiber content. However, the energy burned from digesting celery likely doesn’t exceed the energy it provides.
Side Effects Of Celery
Consumption of celery may lead to several adverse effects in some people, including allergic reactions, bleeding and uterine contractions in pregnant women, and drug interactions. Excess consumption of celery may cause gas. However, limited research is available on the side effects of celery.
May Cause An Allergic Reaction
Celery is a common allergen and may cause certain serious allergic reactions in some people. In case you are allergic to mugwort or birch pollen, chances are you may react to celery as well. A study conducted in Poland suggests that celery may cause severe anaphylactic shock. Symptoms can include swelling of the face, irritation, rashes, upset stomach, and dizziness. In extreme cases, the symptoms can include a drop in blood pressure levels and difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms after taking celery, stop the intake, and visit your doctor.
Issues Regarding Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women
Celery or celery seeds may induce bleeding and uterine contractions. Hence, pregnant women must avoid eating too much celery. It may also cause a miscarriage. There is not enough information available concerning the consumption of celery in breastfeeding women. Hence, stay safe and avoid use.
May Interact With Drugs
Celery may interact with blood clotting medications, like warfarin. It contains chemicals that may interact with anticoagulants (blood-thinning medications) and increase the risk of excessive bleeding.