Top 6 health benefits of celery
Registered nutritionist Nicola Shubrook reveals the benefits of celery, as well as the nutritional properties of this popular salad vegetable
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.
Benefits of celery may include:
- Support heart health
- Support digestive function
- Suppress inflammation
- Improve memory
- Help manage blood sugar
- Help weight management
Nutritional profile 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 6 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.
In addition to its vitamin and mineral content, celery is also a source of protective plant compounds called flavonoids, which have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. Diets high in fibrous foods, like celery, are also 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 suppress inflammation
Because celery is a source of phytonutrients, animal studies suggest it may suppress inflammation, potentially making it useful for those with chronic inflammatory conditions, like arthritis. However, much of the research to date has been conducted using animal models and more human trials are needed.
4. May improve memory
A 2017 animal study found that celery extract appeared to halt the cognitive decline associated with ageing and depression. Similarly, a study looking at the neuroprotective benefits of celery extract saw positive results in mice with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Again, much of the research to date has been conducted using animal models and more human trials are needed.
5. May help manage blood sugar
6. May help weight management
Low in calories and high in both water and fibre, celery may be a useful inclusion in a weight loss plan, although don’t be fooled by the much-touted claim that celery is a ‘negative-calorie’ food – it isn’t. That said, when eaten in its whole form, its fibre and water density may help fill you up, making you less likely to want more calories at least in the short term.
What are the benefits of celery juice?
Celery is a low sugar juice and contributes vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, C, K and folate as well as potassium. Enjoying it as part of a varied, balanced diet and in accordance with UK guidelines (a total of 150ml juice per day) may help support hydration.
After juicing, don’t waste the pulp – add it back to the juice for its gut-friendly properties. Give it a go with our easy recipe.
Is celery safe for everyone?
For most of us, celery is a healthy inclusion to the diet, but some people may be allergic to it. A mild reaction may include symptoms such as an itching mouth or tongue, sneezing or a runny nose.
Visit the NHS website to read more about allergies.
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.
If you experience digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) you may be advised to limit your intake. This is because celery contains mannitol, a type of carbohydrate known as a FODMAP, these carbs may ferment in the gut and aggravate your symptoms.
Overall, is celery healthy?
For most people celery makes a favourable addition to a varied, balanced diet and promotes health in a number of ways. Ideally, enjoy the vegetable in its whole form either cooked in a stir-fry or soup or raw in a salad with the occasional juice.
If you are concerned about whether celery is appropriate for you, please consult your GP or a registered dietician for guidance.
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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.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.