Celery is a vegetable belonging to the Apiaceae family. It is well known for its crunchy stalks, which people often consume as a low calorie snack.
However, celery is not only a good low calorie food. There are a number of other reasons why you might want to include this vegetable in your diet.
Celery is thought to be beneficial for the digestive tract and cardiovascular system.
In addition, the seeds of the plant are also commonly used in medicine to help relieve pain.
Nutritional breakdown of celery
Antioxidants – celery is a very rich source of antioxidants. The vegetable contains the following phytonutrients: phenolic acids, flavonols, dihydrostilbenoids, flavones, furanocoumarins, and phytosterols.
Vitamins and minerals – celery is very rich in vitamin K and also contains folate, vitamin A, potassium, and vitamin C.
Dietary fiber – despite being mainly water, celery also provides a fair amount of dietary fiber. The vegetable contains 1.6 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
Potential health benefits of celery
The potential health benefits of celery (and its seeds) include: lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of cancer, and preventing age-related degeneration of vision.
Lowering blood pressure
There is no strong evidence to suggest that celery seeds may help lower blood pressure among humans. However, a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food assessed the effect that celery (Apium graveolens) seed extracts have on blood pressure (BP) in normotensive and deoxycorticosterone acetate-induced hypertensive rats.1
The authors of the study concluded that “celery seed extracts have antihypertensive properties, which appears to be attributable to the actions of its active hydrophobic constitutes such as NBP and can be considered as an antihypertensive agent in chronic treatment of elevated BP.”
Celery contains a flavanoid called luteolin. Researchers believe that this particular flavonoid may posses anti-cancer properties.
A study published in Current Cancer Drug Targets said that “recent epidemiological studies have attributed a cancer prevention property to luteolin”. The authors of the study say that “luteolin sensitizes cancer cells to therapeutic-induced cytotoxicity through suppressing cell survival pathways.”2
Other possible benefits
Other possible benefits include: treating joint pain, lowering blood pressure, and soothing the nervous system. However, there is not enough scientific evidence to fully support the claims.3
Risks and precautions
Celery belongs to a small group of foods that can cause the most severe allergic reactions – potentially causing fatal anaphylactic shock. Therefore, those who are allergic to the vegetable should be very cautious and check food labels (as even small traces of celery can cause reactions).
Written by Joseph Nordqvist