We’ve all heard countless praises for leafy greens like broccoli and spinach, and fibrous fruits like apples and oranges. But whoever heard of the terrific benefits of a celery stalk?
Celery remains one of the most underappreciated green vegetables of our time. It just fails to excite the masses with its bland taste, its mundane green hue and its lack of a dominating presence among other vegetables.
However, celery is more than what meets the eye. Usually found in soups or as a garnish in salads, celery is the perfect food to chew on during a lazy afternoon for an instant nutrient kick.
In addition, it is naturally low in calories, carbohydrates, fat, and cholesterol. In order to ensure that celery retains this rich nutrient vibrancy and potency, it is recommended to eat it within 5-7 days, chop it right before you are about to cook or serve it rather than storing chopped celery in the freezer, and prepare it by steaming to optimize on its flavor and healthy goodness.
Nutritional Content of Celery
Even a single stalk of celery is a nutrient powerhouse. It is mostly made of water (95 percent) and contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E, K, P and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.
Vitamin C, calcium, potassium and magnesium present in celery strengthen the body system. Celery has the ideal quantities of iron and magnesium to stop oncological diseases and reduce the effects of anemia. It is a strong diuretic and is used as a urinary antiseptic.
Nutritional value of Celery per 100 grams:
- Water – 95.43 g
- Energy – 14 kcal
- Protein – 0.69 g
- Total lipid – 0.17 g
- Carbohydrate – 2.97 g
- Fiber – 1.6 g
- Sugars – 1.34 g
- Calcium, Ca – 40 mg
- Iron, Fe – 0.2 mg
- Magnesium, Mg – 11 mg
- Phosphorus, P – 24 mg
- Potassium, K – 260 mg
- Sodium, Na – 80 mg
- Zinc, Zn – 0.13 mg
- Vitamin C – 3.1 mg
- Niacin – 0.320 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.074 mg
- Folate – 36 mcg
- Vitamin A – 22 mcg
- Vitamin E – 0.27 mg
- Vitamin K – 29.3 mcg
Precautions with Celery
- The consumption and topical application of Celery in medicinal amounts is generally considered safe for most people, so long it is done for a short period of time. Needless to say, this does not apply to people allergic to celery who might experience adverse reactions that can range from skin inflammation to anaphylaxis. Celery can also make one excessively prone to sun damage.
- Pregnant women are warned against the medicinal use of celery oil and celery seeds in their vulnerable state as it can lead to complications such as premature uterus contraction and even miscarriage. Breastfeeding women are also recommended to stay on the safer side by staying off celery oil and seeds to avoid risking their own health as well as that of the baby.
- People who suffer from low blood pressure should exercise precaution when using celery as it can cause further dips in their blood pressure level.
- Since the medicinal use of celery has been associated with an increased risk of bleeding, its best to avoid using this vegetable if you already suffer from a bleeding disorder.
- People with renal issues are advised against the use of celery in medicinal amounts as it can trigger inflammation.
- Celery seed consumption might hamper the effectiveness of Levothyroxine, which is a drug used for correcting low thyroid function. Taking the two together is, therefore, not recommended, unless approved by the doctor first.
- Celery has been associated with increased sleepiness and drowsiness, and thus, taking it along with sedative medications might make one excessively sleepy.
- Since celery use itself has been found to increase one’s sensitivity to the sun, coupling it with medications that engender the same effect could increase the chances of sunburn, blistering, or rashes on areas of skin exposed to sunlight. So, if you happen to be on any drugs that make you more susceptible to sun damage, its best to limit your intake of celery and shield your exposed skin with sunblock and protective clothing when spending time in the sun.
Reasons Why You Should Eat More Celery
Here are 10 amazing health benefits in a single celery stalk.
1. Aids Weight Loss
Celery is popular in weight loss diets, given celery’s high bulk and low-calorie properties; it is popular negative-calorie food-i.e., it burns more calories to digest than it contains.
Celery is a very good source of dietary fiber and provides bulk in your digestive system. It settles in the gut, so your stomach may empty more slowly.
Therefore, celery keeps you feeling full longer and prevents hunger pangs. Because celery is 95 percent water, it also keeps the body hydrated.
According to a 2015 study published in the International Medical Journal, a group of women (35 to 45 years old) who practiced regular Pilates exercise and consumed celery supplements for 8 weeks reported significantly reduced body fat.
2. Improves Digestion
Celery’s high-water content increases fluid levels in your body that help break down food for nutrient absorption. It also helps food pass easily through the digestive tract and softens stools, thereby preventing constipation.
Celery is a wonderful combination of soluble and insoluble fibers. Insoluble fiber increases the size of your stool. Since bulky feces are quicker and easier to eliminate, it relieves constipation. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, settles in your digestive tract and regulates digestion.
In addition, a 2010 study published in Pharmaceutical Biology found that rats fed with celery extract had fewer ulcers and more protected stomach linings.
3. Reduces Inflammation
Even a single celery stalk has incredible anti-inflammatory properties. It contains apigenin and phthalides that are known for their anti-inflammatory effect.
A 2007 study published in the Archives of Pharmacal Research substantiated the anti-inflammatory and therapeutic effects of apigenin in inflammatory ailments, such as arthritis.
Furthermore, celery contains a compound called COX-2 inhibitor that aids the production of cortisone – a hormone that reduces painful inflammation in the body.
Celery’s diuretic nature also helps remove uric acid crystals that build up around the joints, causing pain and discomfort.
Hence, consuming celery can provide relief from inflammatory issues like arthritis pain, muscle pain, inflammatory bowel disease, and joint pain. Its anti-inflammatory properties also prove effective against acne breakouts.
4. Lowers High Blood Pressure
Regular potassium intake helps lower blood pressure by balancing sodium levels in the body.
Celery can help you in that regard. Being a good source of potassium, celery has a mitigating effect on elevated blood pressure levels associated with hypertension without engendering any adverse effect on blood lipid concentrations, catecholamine concentrations or renal function.
The celery relaxes the muscles of the arteries carrying blood to the heart, allowing for a more relaxed flow. This dilatory effect of celery significantly reduces blood pressure.
5. Reduces Bad Cholesterol
Being rich in fiber, celery helps reduce bad cholesterol known as low-density lipoproteins (LDL) in the body. The fiber attaches itself to the cholesterol particles in the digestive tract, preventing their absorption in the bloodstream.
- Eating even 1 to 2 celery stalks daily can reduce bad cholesterol and its possible health effects.
6. Has an Alkalizing Effect
The normal pH level of our blood can become acidic due to stress, an acidic diet or an influx of toxins in the body. The body compensates for the acidic overload by using alkaline minerals. To that effect, lungs help with normal pH in the blood while kidneys do the same along with detoxifying, and the liver helps eliminate toxins.
An absence of alkaline minerals leads to an acidic build up in the cells, causing reduced energy levels, acidity, fatigue, and disease.
Celery is an incredible source of alkaline minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
The alkaline minerals are associated with a significant and rapid increase in blood and urinary pH and a long-term increase in urinary pH after 1 week of supplementation. Thus, the ingestion of even a singular celery stalk can help with the regulation of acid-base balance in the body.
Furthermore, an increase in the acidic content of urine can give rise to uric acid or cystine stones. Therefore, substituting high-acid foods like meat and dairy products with regular celery intake will keep the body’s acidic levels in check. However, one should always consider taking balanced meals as moderation is the key to a healthy life.
7. Keeps the Body Hydrated
Proper hydration is important to your overall health. Every cell in your body needs water, along with oxygen, to function properly.
As celery is about 95 percent water, it can play a key role in preventing dehydration, which can cause fatigue, thirst, less urination, dry skin, headaches, constipation, muscle cramps, and dizziness.
A well-hydrated body will, in turn, have glowing skin, healthy hair and properly functioning organs. Furthermore, the potassium in celery helps regulate body fluid and stimulate urine production, thus helping the body get rid of harmful toxins.
- Enjoy celery as a great snack, especially during the hot summer, to prevent dehydration.
8. Improves and Protects Your Vision
A daily stalk of celery will give you enough vitamin A to nourish your eyes. The retinas in our eyes need vitamin A to process images and send them to the brain. Something as simple as munching on a celery stalk a day can, therefore, be an effective preventive step against something as debilitating as night blindness.
Celery also contains lutein antioxidants that protect the eyes against the damaging effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. It is best to eat raw celery stalks for vision protection as cooked celery is likely to lose these antioxidants.
9. Prevents Memory Loss
Recent research has thrown light on the inhibiting effects of regular celery consumption on memory loss. Our brain cells suffer inflammation with age, causing degeneration and reduced mental capacity.
A diet rich in luteolin reduces age-related inflammation in the brain and related memory problems by inhibiting the release of inflammatory molecules in the brain. Luteolin is a naturally occurring substance found in celery.
Furthermore, the chemical phthalide found in celery provides mental health benefits.
- Start eating celery daily to keep the brain healthy and prevent serious cognitive degeneration.
10. Combats Cancer
Celery belongs to a whole line of chemo-protective Apiaceae vegetables that include carrots, celery, fennel, parsley, and parsnips. The dietary flavonoids apigenin or luteolin present in celery have been found to be effective in killing human pancreatic cancer cells.
The luteolin found in celery is said to enhance the effect of chemotherapy by rendering the cancer cells more vulnerable to attack.
- Follow-up with your oncologist and a Registered Dietician about the possible inclusion of celery in your diet as a preventive measure against cancer.
Ways to Enjoy Celery Every Day
- Raw Celery: Consume 2 to 3 raw celery stalks daily. Many people enjoy them with some peanut butter. You can also add it to salads.
- Celery in Soup: Add 1 to 3 chopped celery stalks to a soup of your choice and enjoy it as a daily mid-morning snack.
- Celery Smoothie: Blend 3 celery stalks (chopped), 3 medium carrots (chopped), 1 medium broccoli head (chopped) and 1 ginger head in a blender for 10 to 15 minutes. This recipe makes 10 to 11 ounces of juice. Drink a glass 20 minutes before breakfast every day, and store the rest.
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