We’ve all heard countless praises for leafy greens like broccoli and spinach, and fibrous fruits like apples and oranges. But who ever heard of the terrific benefits of a celery stalk?
Celery remains one of the most under appreciated 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 meets the eye. Usually found in soups or as garnish in salads, celery is the perfect food to chew on during a lazy afternoon for an instant nutrient kick.
Even a single stalk of celery is a nutrient powerhouse. It is mostly made of water (95 percent) and contains vitamins A, C, K and some B vitamins as well as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, potassium, and fiber. In addition, it is naturally low in calories, carbohydrates, fat and cholesterol.
Here are the top 10 amazing health benefits in a single celery stalk.
1. Aids Weight Loss
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one celery stalk contains as little as 10 calories. Low calorie intake surely promotes weight loss. However, the real secret to celery’s weight-loss prowess is its fiber content.
The fiber in celery 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 breakdown 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.
A 2014 study published in Food and Function notes that dietary fiber-rich foods like celery aid the digestion of lipids (molecules containing fats) in the digestive tract.
In addition, a 2010 study published in Pharmaceutical Biology found that rats consuming celery extract had fewer ulcers and more protected stomach linings.
Note: Eating too much celery can give you diarrhea. Also, do not eat raw celery when you have diarrhea; you have drink celery juice or soup, though.
3. Reduces Inflammation
Even a single celery stalk has incredible anti-inflammatory properties. It contains a plant metabolite called apigenin that is especially effective in reducing inflammation.
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 help reduce acne.
4. Lowers High Blood Pressure
Regular potassium intake helps lower blood pressure by balancing sodium levels in the body. Celery is a good source of potassium.
A 2013 study published in The BMJ shows that increased potassium intake reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension and has no adverse effect on blood lipid concentrations, catecholamine concentrations or renal function in adults.
Furthermore, celery contains a chemical compound called phthalide that relaxes the muscles of the arteries carrying blood to the heart, allowing for a more relaxed flow. This 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 absorption in the bloodstream.
A 1990 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry pointed out the positive effect of dietary fiber concentrated from celery, parsnip and rutabaga on intestinal functions, serum cholesterol and blood glucose response in rats.
Furthermore, the chemical compound phthalide in celery also reduces cholesterol levels. A 2011 study published in Pharmacognosy Magazine notes that cholesterol-fed rats showed significantly reduced cholesterol levels when put on a diet of celery, chicory and barley for 4 weeks.
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.
Absence of these minerals leads to an acidic buildup in the cells, causing reduced energy levels, acidity, fatigue and disease.
Celery is an incredible source of essential minerals like potassium. Daily consumption of celery can restore normal acidic levels, releasing energy in the body and revitalizing the immune system.
Furthermore, increases in the acidic content of urine can cause kidney stones and other bladder infections. Therefore, substituting high-acid foods like meat and dairy products with regular celery intake will keep the body’s acidic levels in check.
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 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 months, to prevent dehydration.
8. Improves and Protects Your Vision
A daily stalk of celery will give you enough vitamin A to keep your vision sharp and longlasting. The retinas in our eyes need vitamin A to process images and send them to the brain.
This, in simple terms, is how we see every day. A vitamin A deficiency can accelerate the onset of age-related vision loss by weakening the retina over time.
Celery also contains lutein and zeaxanthin – antioxidants abundant in leafy green vegetables 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.
Include celery in your diet to reduce your chance of developing cataracts and protect against macular degeneration.
9. Prevents Memory Loss
Recent research has thrown light on the memory loss-inhibiting effects of regular celery consumption. Our brain cells suffer inflammation with age, causing degeneration and reduced mental capacity.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Nutrition highlights that a diet rich in the plant compound 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 diseases like Alzheimer’s.
10. Combats Cancer
If you needed any more reasons to incorporate celery into your daily diet, here is one you just cannot ignore.
A 2013 study published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal found the dietary flavonoids apigenin or luteolin, present in celery, to be effective in killing human pancreatic cancer cells.
In 2011, University of Missouri researchers also studied the effect of apigenin in women with breast cancer and established its role in inhibiting the cancer’s progression.
Hence, a stalk of celery a day might just save you from 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 in 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 gingerhead 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.