Celery is an “umbellifer,” a plant family that includes carrots and parsnips. Celery stalks are mostly water, or 95 percent of its weight, but it doesn't mean they lack nutritional value.
One celery stalk contains 25 percent of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin K and five percent of the RDI for folate, potassium and vitamin A. Additionally, celery contains traces of calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, B vitamins and vitamin C.
Celery also contains one gram of fiber per stalk. It's also full of antioxidants, disease-fighting plant compounds like phytonutrients and flavonoids and electrolytes.
Electrolytes are chemicals in water that you need for various bodily functions such as hydration, maintaining healthy blood pressure, repairing tissue damage and proper muscle and nerve function.
Here are just five of the many reasons to eat more celery:
According to a 2009 study from Pharmacognosy Magazine, consuming celery can boost cardiovascular health by “improving common heart disease biomarkers.”
The findings revealed that the rats given celery extract for 60 days experienced a significant reduction in blood lipids, along with total cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides.
Celery is full of antioxidants that can help eliminate cancer-promoting free radicals from your cells. Researchers have conducted studies to learn more about apigenin and luteolin, two potential anticancer compounds in celery extract.
Apigenin gets rid of free radicals in the body and helps promote cancer cell death. Additionally, apigenin may promote autophagy, a process wherein your body removes dysfunctional cells or components to help prevent disease.
Data also shows that luteolin, a plant flavonoid in celery, may contribute to the vegetable's potential anticancer effects. In a study published in the journal Current Cancer Drug Targets, results showed that luteolin supplementation reduced mice tumor rates by almost 50 percent. It also helped slow the progression of the remaining tumors.
Researchers have also studied the anti-inflammatory properties of celery seed extracts. Data suggests that celery seed extract can be used as a natural alternative to drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen for arthritis symptoms.
Additionally, celery seed extracts may have a pain-reducing effect and it can help prevent stomach damage caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
A separate 2008 study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign showed that luteolin in celery also helped significantly reduce brain inflammation, with potential use as a natural treatment for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis (MS).
Celery is rich in insoluble fiber that makes you feel full longer, promotes weight loss and helps keep you regular.
In a 2010 study from the journal Pharmaceutical Biology, scientists examined how celery extract can be used to treat stomach ulcers and protect the gastrointestinal system of rats.
Results showed that rats pretreated with celery extract before they developed stomach ulcers experienced less gastric damage compared to other subjects that weren't pretreated. The researchers concluded that this may be due to the antioxidant properties of celery. (Related: The digestive benefits of celery (quick salad recipe included).)
In a 2017 review of 16 studies on celery and fertility published in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, scientists discovered that celery offers a protective effect against substances that damages sperm count.
Celery is on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen list of the most pesticide-contaminated produce, so make sure you only buy organic celery.
Consume celery in moderation to prevent diarrhea, which may occur if you consume too much insoluble fiber from the vegetable.
Finally, check if you have allergies to celery before eating the vegetable. Consuming the underground part of celery called celeriac root may cause symptoms like itchiness and swelling of the throat, lips and tongue. In more severe cases, celery allergies may cause anaphylactic shock.
To keep celery as fresh as possible:
There are many ways to prep and cook celery.
Eat celery to boost your fiber intake, promote weight loss and improve your digestive health.