Celery, also known as Apium graveolens, might be at the top of the list for the crunchiest, most crisp vegetable. As far as the flavor you will find it has a mild, earthy, and slightly peppery taste. Celery is a plant that grows throughout the world and its stalk is what is most often eaten and what you will find in grocery stores.
Celery has a ton of health benefits and is easy to eat on the go or add to your favorite dishes and recipes. If you would rather drink it in a liquid form, celery juice has similar benefits.
Keep reading to find out all you need to know in this article about celery.
Fun Fact:Some people use celery as a mosquito repellent by rubbing its juice on the skin.
Table of Contents
History and Facts
Historically, celery has been thought to be used by humans as far back as 4,000 B.C. Wild celery is native to the Mediterranean area but has been used in other places like China as early as the 5th century.
In traditional medicine celery was used as a diuretic, treating kidney and gallbladder stones, being an antidote for poisoning, and helping encourage menstrual blood flow to occur. Furthermore, its celery seeds were used in traditional medicine for bronchitis, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, liver disease, spleen disease, and even as an aphrodisiac. The Greeks, Egyptians and Romans used celery leaves to weave crowns for athletes. They have even been found intact as wreaths in some tombs.
Did You Know?:Some of the other plants in the celery family like water hemlock are very poisonous. Socrates was known to die from eating it.
Both celery and celery juice contains a ton of nutrients, although the amounts differ slightly.
In one cup of celery and celery juice, there are the following macronutrients (1, 2):
- Calories: 14 calories (kcal)
- Protein: 0.7 grams (g)
- Fat: 0.1 grams (g)
- Carbohydrates: 3 grams (g)
- Fiber: 1.6 grams (g)
- Calories: 33 calories (kcal)
- Protein: 1.63 grams (g)
- Fat: 0.4 grams (g)
- Carbohydrates: 7 grams (g)
- Fiber: 3.8 grams (g)
As you can see, both celery and celery juice is relatively low in calories and high in fiber. One cup of celery has almost 2 grams of fiber and almost 4 in celery juice (3, 4). The majority of Americans do not eat enough fiber in their diets, making both forms of celery a great choice to help with this problem. Eating a diet rich in fiber can help increase the feeling of fullness, reduce blood sugar spikes, lower cholesterol, and promote gut health (5). Moreover, celery is low on the glycemic index, meaning it won’t spike too much and will keep blood sugar levels steady.
Summary:Celery and celery juice are relatively low in calories, and carbohydrates, and high in fiber, making it a nutrient-dense food/beverage.
Vitamins and Minerals
One cup of raw celery and celery juice pack a punch with the following vitamins and minerals (6, 7) :
- Calcium: 40.4 milligrams (mg)
- Magnesium: 11.1 milligrams (mg)
- Phosphorus: 24.2 milligrams (mg)
- Vitamin C: 3.13 milligrams (mg)
- Potassium: 263 milligrams (mg)
- Sodium: 80.8 milligrams (mg)
- Folate: 36.4 micrograms (mcg)
- Choline: 6.16 milligrams (mg)
- Vitamin A: 22.2 micrograms (mcg)
- Beta Carotene: 273 micrograms (mcg)
- Lutein + Zeaxanthin: 286 micrograms (mcg)
- Vitamin K: 30 micrograms (mcg)
- Calcium: 94.4 milligrams (mg)
- Magnesium: 26 milligrams (mg)
- Phosphorus: 56.6 milligrams (mg)
- Vitamin C: 7.3 milligrams (mg)
- Potassium: 614 milligrams (mg)
- Sodium: 189 milligrams (mg)
- Folate: 85 micrograms (mcg)
- Choline: 14.4 milligrams (mg)
- Vitamin A: 52 micrograms (mcg)
- Beta Carotene: 637 micrograms (mcg)
- Lutein + Zeaxanthin: 668 micrograms (mcg)
- Vitamin K: 69 micrograms (mcg)
Out of these vitamins and minerals, celery is most known for being high in antioxidants.
Summary:Celery and celery juice provides many nutrients, including calcium, potassium, folate, choline, vitamins A and K, and more.
In addition to the tons of nutrients they contain, celery is known for being a powerhouse of health benefits. Even the juice of celery itself has tons of benefits.
May Lower Inflammation
Celery contains different phytochemicals which may decrease the activity of proinflammatory cytokines and prevent inflammation (8). There are also flavonoids in celery, which are a type of plant compound that has antioxidant effects. The flavonoids in celery may suppress cardiovascular inflammation (9). Oxidative stress and inflammation in the bloodstream are the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease, especially atherosclerosis. So, consuming celery can help to decrease this risk and protect the cardiovascular system (10).
Celery also contains apigenin, which is a plant compound that has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties (11). Furthermore, research on apigenin suggests that it may reduce the activity of inflammatory proteins and help strengthen the immune system (12).
All of the chemical compounds from phytonutrients ensure celery’s survival by protecting it from germs, fungi, bugs, and insects. But for us humans, phytonutrients have incredible anti-inflammatory benefits, strengthening our immune system and allowing for better intracellular communication (13).
Summary:Celery is high in phytochemicals, flavonoids, and apigenin, all of which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and is beneficial for overall health.
May Prevent Cancer
The National Cancer Institute reports that celery contains chemicals with anticancer properties that have been shown to inhibit the growth of many types of tumor cells, including breast cancer cells. These chemicals may also prevent the spread of these tumors by stopping them from growing new blood vessels.
A few studies found that men who had higher intakes of celery were less likely to develop prostate cancer and had a decreased risk for cancer. Celery may also help reduce your risk for lung cancer (14). Researchers found that celery extract helps prevent lung cancer in mice. The researchers believe that this is due to the apigenin found in celery (15). Apigenin works by inhibiting certain enzymes that promote inflammation and cell growth. Celery extract also reduced the number of lung tumors in mice exposed to tobacco smoke which is known to cause lung cancer.
Summary:Research has found that consuming celery can decrease the risk for different types of cancer and may inhibit tumor growth.
Supports Gut Health
As we know, there are a variety of nutrients in celery that support our health. More specifically, celery contains two plant compounds called luteolin and pyrroloquinoline quinone, also known as PQQ. Both of these compounds have been shown to reduce inflammation in the gut and overall create a healthy environment in the gut, also known as the microbiome (16).
A few other studies have found other benefits that celery has on gut health. For example, fermented celery juice was shown to create a healthier gut bacteria environment in mice (17). Celery is also high in fiber, which can help to prevent constipation and promotes digestion, both factors further contributing to a healthy gut environment (18).
One of the most important health benefits of celery is that it supports gut health. The fiber in celery increases the number of good bacteria in your gut by preventing harmful microbes from sticking to the intestinal wall. This allows nutrients to pass through more easily and keeps your digestive tract running smoothly.
Celery has been shown to support gut health, particularly in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (19). The fiber content of celery helps bulk up stool and prevent constipation which may be associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Celery also contains compounds called phthalides (20), which have been found to protect against bacterial overgrowth in the gut.
Summary:Celery contains plant compounds and with the fiber, altogether can help support a healthy gut, decrease bacterial overgrowth in the gut, and can help to prevent constipation.
Ways to Consume
Celery can be an easy addition to snacks and dishes. If eating it doesn’t sound appealing, the good news is that drinking celery juice contains similar benefits to eating it whole.
The celery stem is what is most commonly eaten but celery oil and seeds are another part of the celery that is commonly consumed. As a medicine, celery seed powder or extract have most often been used by adults in doses of 1000-1500 mg by mouth daily. It is best to speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.
Here are some ideas for adding celery to your meals and snacks:
- Eat it raw alone or give it a flavor boost with peanut butter or dip like ranch
- Add it to your favorite smoothie if you are in the mood to add some extra greens
- Cut it up and use it with other vegetables in a stir-fry
- Add it to your favorite soup to give it some flavor and more texture
- Juice it and use it as a healthier option than sugary beverages
- Steam or bake it
- Use celery seed as a spice
- Chop it up raw and add it to chicken, tuna, or egg salad
Did You Know?Celery is 90% water, so consuming it in any way is a great way to keep the body hydrated.
There are minimal to no risks or side effects when consuming celery. For some people, however, it may cause issues.
- It May Cause an Allergic Reaction: For most people, celery does not cause any reactions. However, for some people, celery may cause allergic reactions and develop symptoms that can range from skin rashes to anaphylaxis (21). People who may be more at risk for causing allergic reactions are those who are sensitive to some other plants and spices, including wild carrot, mugwort, birch, caraway, fennel or coriander seeds, parsley, anise, plantain, and dandelion. This has been called the “celery-carrot-mugwort-spice syndrome,” or the “celery-mugwort-birch-spice” syndrome.
- Bleeding Disorders: Celery root might increase the risk of bleeding when used in medicinal amounts (22). Ask your doctor before you start consuming celery if you have a bleeding disorder.
- May Interfere with Thyroid Function: Celery might interfere with thyroid function (23). Ask your doctor if it is okay to use celery if you have high or low thyroid levels or are taking medication for a thyroid disorder.
Summary: Overall, celery is safe for most people to eat. However, some may have an allergic reaction and may need to be cautious if they have bleeding disorders and/or thyroid issues.
Frequently asked questions
How long does celery stay good for?
Celery typically stays the freshest when it is eaten within a week after taking it home. Storing it in the fridge with minimal moisture can help to keep it fresh for longer.
What should I look for when buying celery?
When buying celery, look for celery with upright stalks that seem sturdy and strong. The leaves on the celery should be crisp and fresh and shouldn’t be wilting. The leaves are typically pale to bright green, free of yellow or brown patches.
Celery is a naturally crisp and refreshing vegetable that can be enjoyed by almost anyone. It has been used in traditional medicine for years and date as far back to being eaten in 5,000 B.C.
This fantastic vegetable is jam-packed with plenty of nutrients and offers a ton of health benefits. Consuming celery can help with lowing inflammation, decreasing the risk of cancer, and supporting gut health.
Don’t skip over getting celery the next time you are in the vegetable aisle.