What is celery?
Celery is a marshland plant that comes from the same family as carrots and parsley. It has long, firm, pale green fibrous stalks and grows in bunches of approximately eight to 10. The stalks taper into leaves at the top. Although most people discard the leaves, they are also edible. Celery has a mild, earthy, slightly peppery taste.
Nutritional benefits of celery
An 80g (raw) serving contains:
- 6 kcals / 24 kJ
- 0.4g protein
- 0.2g fat
- 0.7g carbohydrate
- 1.2g fibre
- 256mg potassium
What are the 5 top health benefits of celery?
1. May support heart health
Although celery has a high water content, it contains numerous vitamins and minerals, including potassium and calcium, which are important for heart health. It also contains folate and vitamin K, both of which are required for the formation of red blood cells and effective blood clotting. Celery is also a good source of protective plant compounds called flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory and protective effects on the cardiovascular system. Diets high in fibrous foods like celery are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
2. May support digestive function
Celery is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fibre, which is important for digestive function. A 2010 animal study using celery extract also suggested that its phytonutrient content may be beneficial for protecting digestive mucosa, and as a result may guard against gastric ulcers.
3. May be anti-inflammatory
Rich in plant compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, celery may be a useful inclusion for those with chronic inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
4. May improve memory
A 2017 animal study found that celery extract appeared to improve cognitive function associated with ageing and depression. Similarly, a study looking at the neuroprotective benefits of celery extract saw positive results in participants with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
5. May improve blood sugar management
With a low glycaemic index (GI) and a high fibre content, celery is useful for those who need to monitor their blood sugar levels. Studies also suggest it may be effective at reducing blood glucose levels.
Is celery safe for everyone?
For most of us, celery is a healthy dietary inclusion, but some people may be allergic to celery. A mild reaction may include symptoms such as an itching mouth or tongue, sneezing or a runny nose.
It is also important to note that celery is high in oxalates, and may not be suitable for those with kidney stones or kidney-related conditions. Always check with your GP if you are concerned about or have kidney-related health issues.
Visit the NHS website to read more about allergies.
If you are concerned about food allergies, please consult your GP or a registered Dietician for guidance.
This article was reviewed on 23 February 2021 by Kerry Torrens.
Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.
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